The court of Macbeth’s castle.
(Banquo; Fleance; Macbeth; Servant)
Banquo and his son Fleance are on their way to bed after the very late end of the night’s feasting. Banquo is uneasy. Met by Macbeth, Banquo hands over to him a diamond from Duncan. Banquo reveals that he has dreamt of the three weird sisters; Macbeth insists that he is not thinking of them, but asks that he and Banquo may have some further talk on the matter. Banquo agrees, while subtly making it clear that he will have no part in any action against Duncan. Left alone, preparing to go in to murder Duncan, Macbeth hallucinates a dagger in the air before him, on which he soon sees blood running. He summons up his courage, and hearing the bell toll goes in to end Duncan’s life. (72 lines)
Enter Banquo, and Fleance with a torch before him.
How goes the night, boy?
The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.
And she goes down at twelve.
I take’t, ’tis later, sir.
Hold, take my sword. There’s husbandry in heaven,
Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
Gives him his belt and dagger.
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers,
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
Gives way to in repose!
Enter Macbeth, and a Servant with a torch.
Give me my sword.
What, sir, not yet at rest? The King’s a-bed.
He hath been in unusual pleasure, and
Sent forth great largess to your offices.
This diamond he greets your wife withal,
By the name of most kind hostess, and shut up
In measureless content.
Our will became the servant to defect,
Which else should free have wrought.
I dreamt last night of the three weïrd sisters:
To you they have show’d some truth.
I think not of them;
Yet when we can entreat an hour to serve,
We would spend it in some words upon that business,
If you would grant the time.
At your kind’st leisure.
If you shall cleave to my consent, when ’tis,
It shall make honor for you.
So I lose none
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchis’d and allegiance clear,
I shall be counsell’d.
Good repose the while!
Thanks, sir; the like to you!
Exit Banquo with Fleance.
Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshal’st me the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o’ th’ other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still;
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There’s no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes. Now o’er the one half world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain’d sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecat’s off’rings; and wither’d Murder,
Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
The very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
A bell rings.
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell,
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.