by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

     Whence is that knocking?
How is ’t with me when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.
60Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
Where is that knocking coming from? What’s happening to me, that I’m frightened of every noise? (looking at his hands) Whose hands are these? Ha! They’re plucking out my eyes. Will all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands? No, instead my hands will stain the seas scarlet, turning the green waters red.
My hands are of your color, but I shame
65To wear a heart so white.
My hands are as red as yours, but I would be ashamed if my heart were as pale and weak.
Knock within
A sound of knocking from offstage.
     I hear a knocking
At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber.
A little water clears us of this deed.
How easy is it, then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended.
I hear someone knocking at the south entry. Let’s go back to our bedroom. A little water will wash away the evidence of our guilt. It’s so simple! You’ve lost your resolve.
Knock within
A sound of knocking from offstage.
70Hark! More knocking.
Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.
Listen! There’s more knocking. Put on your nightgown, in case someone comes and sees that we’re awake. Snap out of your daze.
To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.
Rather than have to think about my crime, I’d prefer to be completely unconscious.
Knock within
A sound of knocking from offstage.
75Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst.
Wake Duncan with your knocking. I wish you could!
They exit.