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Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 5, Scene 8

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MACBETH enters.

MACBETH

Why should I play the Roman fool and dieOn mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashesDo better upon them.

MACBETH

Why should I act like some ancient Roman fool and commit suicide by stabbing myself? As long as I see living enemies, I’d rather wound them than be wounded myself.

MACDUFF enters.

MACDUFF

Turn, hellhound, turn!

MACDUFF

Turn and face me, you dog from hell, turn!

MACBETH

Of all men else I have avoided thee. But get thee back. My soul is too much chargedWith blood of thine already.

MACBETH

You are the only man I have avoided. Go away. My soul is already stained too much by the blood of your murdered family.

MACDUFF

I have no words.My voice is in my sword. Thou bloodier villainThan terms can give thee out!

MACDUFF

I have nothing to say to you. My sword will be my voice. You are too vicious for words to describe!

They fight.

MACBETH

Thou losest labor. As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed. Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests; I bear a charmèd life, which must not yield To one of woman born.

MACBETH

You’re wasting your effort. You might as well try to stab the air with your sword rather than try to use it to make me bleed. Use your sword to fight someone who can be harmed. I lead a charmed life, and can’t be defeated by anyone born from a woman.

MACDUFF

Despair thy charm, And let the angel whom thou still hast served Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb Untimely ripped.

MACDUFF

Then you should despair. The evil spirit you serve can tell you that I was not born. I was cut out of my mother’s womb before she could deliver me naturally.

MACBETH

Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so, For it hath cowed my better part of man! And be these juggling fiends no more believed, That palter with us in a double sense, That keep the word of promise to our ear, And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee.

MACBETH

Curse your tongue for telling me this, for now my courage has deserted me! I no longer believe those tricky witches. They tricked me with their double meanings, raising my hopes only to destroy them. I won’t fight you.

MACDUFF

Then yield thee, coward, And live to be the show and gaze o’ th’ time. We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are, Painted on a pole, and underwrit, “Here may you see the tyrant.”

MACDUFF

Then surrender, coward, and live on as an amusement we all mock and stare at. As with a rare beast, we’ll put a picture of you on a sign, right above the words, “Here is the tyrant!”

MACBETH

I will not yield, To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet, And to be baited with the rabble’s curse. Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, And damned be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!”

MACBETH

I won’t surrender and kiss the ground in front of young Malcolm’s feet, or be taunted by commoners. Though Birnam Wood really did come to Dunsinane, and I’m facing a man not born of a woman, I’ll fight to the end. I’ll raise my shield in front of my body. Now come and fight, Macduff, and damn the first of us who cries, "Stop! Enough!"

They exit fighting. Trumpets. They reenter, still fighting, and MACBETH is killed. A trumpet sounds a call to retreat. Another trumpet sounds a call of victory. MALCOLM, Old SIWARD, ROSS, the other THANES, and SOLDIERS enter, with a drummer and flag.

MALCOLM

I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.

MALCOLM

I wish all of our friends had survived to be here.

SIWARD

Some must go off. And yet, by these I see,So great a day as this is cheaply bought.

SIWARD

Some people will be killed in every battle. And yet, from what I can see, our great victory didn’t cost us very much.

MALCOLM

Macduff is missing, and your noble son.

MALCOLM

Macduff is missing, as is your noble son.

ROSS

Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt. He only lived but till he was a man, The which no sooner had his prowess confirmed In the unshrinking station where he fought, But like a man he died.

ROSS

My lord, your son, Young Siward, has paid the soldier’s price. He lived just long enough to be a man, and he had no sooner proved his manhood through courage in battle than he died.

SIWARD

Then he is dead?

SIWARD

Then he is dead?

ROSS

Ay, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow Must not be measured by his worth, for thenIt hath no end.

ROSS

Yes, and carried off the battlefield. If your grief were to equal his worth, then it would never end.

SIWARD

Had he his hurts before?

SIWARD

Were his wounds on his front side?

ROSS

Ay, on the front.

ROSS

Yes, on his front.

SIWARD

Why then, God’s soldier be he! Had I as many sons as I have hairs, I would not wish them to a fairer death. And so, his knell is knolled.

SIWARD

Well then, he’s God’s soldier now! If I had as many sons as I have hairs on my head, I couldn’t hope for any of them to die with more honor. And so, his time has come to die.

MALCOLM

He’s worth more sorrow,And that I’ll spend for him.

MALCOLM

He’s worth more grief than that, and I’ll mourn for him.

SIWARD

He’s worth no more.They say he parted well and paid his score.And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.

SIWARD

He is worth no more than that. They say he died well, and did his duty. And so, may God be with him! Here comes better news.

MACDUFF enters, carrying MACBETH’s head.

MACDUFF

Hail, king! For so thou art. Behold where stands The usurper’s cursèd head. The time is free. I see thee compassed with thy kingdom’s pearl, That speak my salutation in their minds, Whose voices I desire aloud with mine. Hail, King of Scotland!

MACDUFF

Hail, King Malcolm! Because that’s what you are. Look, here is Macbeth’s cursed head. We are free of the tyrant. I see that you are surrounded by the kingdom’s noblemen, and they’re thinking what I’m saying. I ask them to cheer aloud with me: Hail, King of Scotland!

ALL

Hail, King of Scotland!

ALL

Hail, King of Scotland!

Trumpets sound.

MALCOLM

We shall not spend a large expense of time Before we reckon with your several loves And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland In such an honor named. What’s more to do, Which would be planted newly with the time, As calling home our exiled friends abroad That fled the snares of watchful tyranny, Producing forth the cruel ministers Of this dead butcher and his fiendlike queen, Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent hands Took off her life; this, and what needful else That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, We will perform in measure, time, and place. So, thanks to all at once and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crowned at Scone.

MALCOLM

It will not take long for me to repay my debt to you all by rewarding each of you as your loyalty and service deserves. My thanes and kinsmen, I name you all earls—the first ever to be named earls in Scotland. We have much else to do as well, which should be started soon, as the beginning of a new era. We must call home our exiled friends who fled from the trap of Macbeth’s tyranny, and we must find all those cruel attendants who helped this dead butcher and his demon-like queen, who is thought to have killed herself. This, and whatever else we must do, by the grace of God, we will do in the right amount, at the right time, and in the right place. So I thank you all together and individually, and I invite you to come see me be crowned King of Scotland at Scone.

Trumpets sound. All 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.