by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Drum and colors. Enter MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, and soldiers
MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, and soldiers enter with a drummer and flag.
The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
His uncle Siward and the good Macduff.
Revenges burn in them, for their dear causes
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm
5Excite the mortified man.
The English army is near, led by Malcolm, his uncle Siward, and the good Macduff. They burn for revenge. The wrongs they have suffered would make dead men rise up and fight.
     Near Birnam Wood
Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming.
We’ll meet them near Birnam Wood. They are coming that way.
Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?
Does anyone know if Donalbain is with his brother?
For certain, sir, he is not. I have a file
Of all the gentry. There is Siward’s son,
10And many unrough youths that even now
Protest their first of manhood.
He is definitely not there, sir. I have a list of all the important men. Siward’s son is there, as well as many boys too young to have beards who will become men by joining in this battle.
     What does the tyrant?
What is the tyrant Macbeth doing?
Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies.
Some say he’s mad, others that lesser hate him
Do call it valiant fury. But, for certain,
15He cannot buckle his distempered cause
Within the belt of rule.
He is fortifying his castle at Dunsinane with heavy defenses. Some say he’s insane. Those who hate him less call it brave anger. One thing is certain: he’s out of control.
     Now does he feel
His secret murders sticking on his hands.
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach.
Those he commands move only in command,
20Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.
Now Macbeth feels the blood of his murdered enemies sticking to his hands. Now, rebel armies punish him every minute for his treachery. The soldiers he commands are only following orders. They don’t fight because they love Macbeth. Now he seems too small to be a great king, like a midget trying to wear the robes of a giant.