Macbeth

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 5

page Act 1 Scene 5 Page 2

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What is your tidings?
What news do you bring?

SERVANT

The king comes here tonight.

SERVANT

The king is coming here tonight.

LADY MACBETH

     Thou 'rt mad to say it.
20Is not thy master with him, who, were ’t so,
Would have informed for preparation?

LADY MACBETH

You must be crazy to say that! Isn’t Macbeth with the king, and wouldn’t Macbeth have told me in advance so I could prepare, if the king were really coming?

SERVANT

So please you, it is true: our thane is coming.
One of my fellows had the speed of him,
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
25Than would make up his message.

SERVANT

I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. Macbeth is coming. He sent a messenger ahead of him who arrived here so out of breath that he could barely speak his message.

LADY MACBETH

Give him tending.
He brings great news.

LADY MACBETH

Take good care of him. He brings great news.
Exit SERVANT
The SERVANT exits.
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
30Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
35That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
40You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”
So the messenger is short of breath, like a hoarse raven, as he announces Duncan’s entrance into my fortress, where he will die. Come, you spirits that asist murderous thoughts, make me less like a woman and more like a man, and fill me from head to toe with deadly cruelty! Thicken my blood and clog up my veins so I won’t feel remorse, so that no human compassion can stop my evil plan or prevent me from accomplishing it! Come to my female breast and turn my mother’s milk into poisonous acid, you murdering demons, wherever you hide, invisible and waiting to do evil! Come, thick night, and cover the world in the darkest smoke of hell, so that my sharp knife can’t see the wound it cuts open, and so heaven can’t peep through the darkness and cry, “No! Stop!”