Macbeth

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

FIRST MURDERER

My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.

FIRST MURDERER

My lord, his throat is cut. I did that to him.

MACBETH

Thou art the best o' th' cutthroats:
Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance.
20If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.

MACBETH

You are the best of the cutthroats. But whoever did the same to Fleance must also be good. If you cut both their throats, then you are the absolute best.

FIRST MURDERER

Most royal sir, Fleance is ’scaped.

FIRST MURDERER

Most royal sir, Fleance has escaped.

MACBETH

Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air.
25But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo’s safe?

MACBETH

Now I’m scared again. Otherwise I would have been perfect, as solid as a piece of marble, as firm as a rock, as free as the air itself. But now I’m all tangled up with doubts and fears. But Banquo’s been taken care of?

FIRST MURDERER

Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,
With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,
The least a death to nature.

FIRST MURDERER

Yes, my good lord. He’s lying dead in a ditch, with twenty deep gashes in his head, any one of which would have been enough to kill him.

MACBETH

     Thanks for that.
30There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fled
Hath nature that in time will venom breed;
No teeth for th' present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow
We’ll hear ourselves again.

MACBETH

Thanks for that. The adult snake lies in the ditch. The young snake that escaped will in time become poisonous and threatening, but for now he has no fangs. Get out of here. I’ll talk to you again tomorrow.
Exit FIRST MURDERER
The FIRST MURDERER exits.

LADY MACBETH

     My royal lord,
You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
35That is not often vouched, while ’tis a-making,
'Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.

LADY MACBETH

My royal lord, you’re not entertaining the guests. If you don’t make your guests know they’re welcome, they’ll feel like they’re paying for their meal. When you just want to eat, it’s better to do that at home. When you’re eating out with people, you need to have a little more ceremony. Otherwise dinner parties would be boring.