A line-by-line translation

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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SIWARD

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

SIWARD

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MALCOLM

Macduff is missing, and your noble son.

MALCOLM

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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

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SIWARD

Then he is dead?

SIWARD

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ROSS

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

ROSS

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SIWARD

Had he his hurts before?

SIWARD

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ROSS

Ay, on the front.

ROSS

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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

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MALCOLM

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

MALCOLM

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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

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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

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ALL

Hail, King of Scotland!

ALL

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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

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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.