Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth

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subjects: Plays, Playscripts

Description

One of the great Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth is a dark and bloody drama of ambition, murder, guilt, and revenge. Prompted by the prophecies of three mysterious witches and goaded by his ambitious wife, the Scottish thane Macbeth murders Duncan, King of Scotland, in order to succeed him on the throne. This foul deed soon entangles the conscience-stricken nobleman in a web of treachery, deceit, and more murders, which ultimately spells his doom. Set amid the gloomy castles and lonely heaths of medieval Scotland, Macbeth paints a striking dramatic portrait of a man of honor and integrity destroyed by a fatal character flaw and the tortures of a guilty imagination.


72 pages, with a reading time of ~2.25 hours (18,088 words), and first published in 1606. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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Excerpt

Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches

First Witch

When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch

When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch

That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch

Where the place?

Second Witch

                Upon the heath.

Third Witch

There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch

I come, Graymalkin!

Second Witch

Paddock calls.

Third Witch

Anon.

ALL

Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.

[Exeunt]

SCENE II

A camp near Forres.

Alarum within. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant

DUNCAN

What bloody man is that? He can report, As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt The newest state.

MALCOLM

                This is the sergeant   Who like a good and hardy soldier fought   'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!   Say to the king the knowledge of the broil   As thou didst leave it.

Sergeant

Doubtful it stood; As two spent swimmers, that do cling together And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald– Worthy to be a rebel, for to that The multiplying villanies of nature Do swarm upon him–from the western isles Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied; And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, Show’d like a rebel’s whore: but all’s too weak: For brave Macbeth–well he deserves that name– Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps, And fix’d his head upon our battlements.

DUNCAN

O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!

Sergeant

As whence the sun ‘gins his reflection Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, So from that spring whence comfort seem’d to come Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark: No sooner justice had with valour arm’d Compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels, But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage, With furbish’d arms and new supplies of men Began a fresh assault.

DUNCAN

Dismay’d not this Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

Sergeant

Yes; As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. If I say sooth, I must report they were As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe: Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, Or memorise another Golgotha, I cannot tell. But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.

DUNCAN

So well thy words become thee as thy wounds; They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons.

[Exit Sergeant, attended]

Who comes here?

[Enter ROSS]

MALCOLM

                The worthy thane of Ross.

LENNOX

What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look That seems to speak things strange.

ROSS

God save the king!

DUNCAN

Whence camest thou, worthy thane?

ROSS

From Fife, great king; Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky And fan our people cold. Norway himself, With terrible numbers, Assisted by that most disloyal traitor The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict; Till that Bellona’s bridegroom, lapp’d in proof, Confronted him with self-comparisons, Point against point rebellious, arm ‘gainst arm. Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude, The victory fell on us.

DUNCAN

Great happiness!

ROSS

That now Sweno, the Norways’ king, craves composition: Nor would we deign him burial of his men Till he disbursed at Saint Colme’s inch Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

DUNCAN

No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth.

ROSS

I’ll see it done.

DUNCAN

What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won.

[Exeunt]

SCENE III

A heath near Forres.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch

Where hast thou been, sister?

Second Witch

Killing swine.

Third Witch

Sister, where thou?

First Witch

A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap, And munch’d, and munch’d, and munch’d:– ‘Give me,’ quoth I: ‘Aroint thee, witch!’ the rump-fed ronyon cries. Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ the Tiger: But in a sieve I’ll thither sail, And, like a rat without a tail, I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.

Second Witch

I’ll give thee a wind.

First Witch

Thou’rt kind.

Third Witch

And I another.

First Witch