A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 5, Scene 1

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A DOCTOR and a waiting GENTLEWOMAN enter.

DOCTOR

I have two nights watched with you but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?

DOCTOR

For two nights I’ve watched her with you, but I haven’t seen any evidence of what you’ve described. When did you last see her walk?

GENTLEWOMAN

Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen herrise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlockher closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon ’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

GENTLEWOMAN

Since the king went to war, I have seen her rise from her bed; put on her nightgown; unlock her closet; take out some paper, fold it, write on it, read it, seal it; and then return to bed again—all while remaining fast asleep.

DOCTOR

A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once thebenefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching. In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?

DOCTOR

It’s deeply unnatural to be asleep and, and the same time, perform the actions of those who are awake. When she is in this state—besides walking and doing other things—have you heard her say anything?

GENTLEWOMAN

That, sir, which I will not report after her.

GENTLEWOMAN

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DOCTOR

You may to me, and ’tis most meet you should.

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

Neither to you nor any one, having no witness to confirm my speech.

GENTLEWOMAN

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LADY MACBETH enters, holding a candle.

GENTLEWOMAN

Lo you, here she comes. This is her very guise; and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her, stand close.

GENTLEWOMAN

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DOCTOR

How came she by that light?

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually.‘Tis her command.

GENTLEWOMAN

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DOCTOR

You see her eyes are open.

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

Ay, but their sense is shut.

GENTLEWOMAN

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DOCTOR

What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

It is an accustomed action with her to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.

GENTLEWOMAN

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LADY MACBETH

Yet here’s a spot.

LADY MACBETH

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DOCTOR

Hark! She speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

DOCTOR

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LADY MACBETH

Out, damned spot! Out, I say! —One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky! —Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?— Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.

LADY MACBETH

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DOCTOR

Do you mark that?

DOCTOR

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LADY MACBETH

The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all with this starting.

LADY MACBETH

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DOCTOR

Go to, go to. You have known what you should not.

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has known.

GENTLEWOMAN

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LADY MACBETH

Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!

LADY MACBETH

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DOCTOR

What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

GENTLEWOMAN

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DOCTOR

Well, well, well.

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

Pray God it be, sir.

GENTLEWOMAN

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DOCTOR

This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.

DOCTOR

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LADY MACBETH

Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown. Look not so pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.

LADY MACBETH

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DOCTOR

Even so?

DOCTOR

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LADY MACBETH

To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!

LADY MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH exits.

DOCTOR

Will she go now to bed?

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

Directly.

GENTLEWOMAN

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DOCTOR

Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets. More needs she the divine than the physician. God, God forgive us all! Look after her, Remove from her the means of all annoyance, And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night. My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight. I think, but dare not speak.

DOCTOR

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GENTLEWOMAN

Good night, good doctor.

GENTLEWOMAN

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They exit.

Macbeth
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.