Enter LADY MACBETH
That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold;
What hath quench'd them hath given me fire.
It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it:
The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg'd
That death and nature do contend about them,
Whether they live or die.
[Within] Who's there? what, ho!
Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,
And 'tis not done. The attempt and not the deed
Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done't.
I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?
I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
Did not you speak?
As I descended?
Who lies i' the second chamber?
This is a sorry sight.
Looking on his hands
A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried
That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them:
But they did say their prayers, and address'd them
Again to sleep.
There are two lodged together.
One cried 'God bless us!' and 'Amen' the other;
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands.
Listening their fear, I could not say 'Amen,'
When they did say 'God bless us!'
Consider it not so deeply.
But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'?
I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen'
Stuck in my throat.
These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.
Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep', the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast,--
What do you mean?
Still it cried 'Sleep no more!' to all the house:
'Glamis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.'
Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: go carry them; and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
I'll go no more:
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on't again I dare not.
Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal;
For it must seem their guilt.
Exit. Knocking within
Whence is that knocking?
How is't with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
Re-enter LADY MACBETH
My hands are of your colour; but I shame
To wear a heart so white.
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.
Hark! more knocking.
Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us,
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.
To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself.
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!
Lady Macbeth returned to her chamber carrying the tray and decanter from which she had served King Duncan's guards wine.
“The wine that has made them drunk has made me brave. The wine that quenched their fires has inflamed mine.”
“Listen. An owl, the bell-ringer of doom, so strong are its goodnights. My husband is doing it now. The doors of the King's chamber are open and the guards mock their responsibilities with drunken snores. I drugged them so much nature and death are squabbling if they should live or die.”
“Who's there? What? Hey!”
It was Macbeth. His confused yelling travelled down the stairway. Lady Macbeth became nervous.
“No, they're up and the deed isn't done! We've blown it! Everything will be lost. I laid their daggers out, ready for him. He could not miss them. If the King hadn't resembled my father as he slept I would have done it there and then myself.”
Then Macbeth arrived in his bedroom. His hands and arms were soaked in blood. The blood dripped from the daggers he still clutched as if they were attached to him.
“My husband!” Lady Macbeth said, glowing.
“I've done it. Did you hear anything?”
“I heard the owl scream and some crickets cry. Didn't you speak?”
“As I came down?”
They stood silently waiting for the slightest movement. They could barely look at each other. Both knew they were on the brink of success, or failure.
“Who's in the second bedroom?” asked Macbeth.
Macbeth the suddenly became aware of his damp hands.
“This is a sorry sight,” he said.
“A foolish thought to say it’s a sorry sight.”
“One of the guards laughed in his sleep and one cried, Murder. That's how they woke each other. I stood and heard them. But they muttered their prayers and drifted back to sleep.”
“Malcolm is in that bedroom with Donalbain.”
“One cried, God, bless us, and the other, Amen, as if they knew I was the executioner. Hearing their fear I couldn't say Amen when they said God, bless us.”
“Stop talking about it.”
“Why couldn't I say Amen? I needed that blessing most and Amen stuck in my throat.”
“These deeds must not be dwelt upon. We'll end up mad,” Lady Macbeth said forcefully.
“I thought I heard a voice say, Sleep no more! Macbeth has murdered sleep! Innocent sleep. Sleep that clothes us in care. Sleep that ends each day. A bath for exhausted workers. A balm for troubled minds. Nature’s second wind. The nourishment of life.”
Lady Macbeth was irritated by her husband's rambling.
“What do you mean?”
“The voice said Sleep no more to the entire house. Glamis has murdered sleep. Therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
“Who said these things? Why, my worthy Thane, you'll exhaust yourself thinking about these things so intensely. Go, get some water to wash the filthy evidence from yours hands. Why didn't you leave the daggers? They must be found there! Take them back and smear the drunken servants with the blood.”
“I can't go back there. I'm afraid to think about let alone see what I've done.”
“Coward!” Lady Macbeth spat.
She stared at him for a moment, but to him it seemed like an eternity. Macbeth was already a prisoner of his own crime.
“Give me the daggers!” Lady Macbeth snarled. “The sleeping and the dead are just like pictures. Only a child would fear a picture of the devil! I'll smear their faces. I'll make them look guilty.”
When Lady Macbeth had left him alone Macbeth began to hear knocking and once again found himself descending into paranoia.
“Where's that knocking coming from? Every noise terrifies me. I'm going mad.”
He looked again at his stained hands.
“Whose hands are these? They're plucking my eyes out. There's not enough water in all of Neptune's oceans to cleanse me of these stains. My hands would make the green seas red.”
When Lady Macbeth returned from Duncan's chamber her entrance made her husband jump. She shot him a scathing look.
“Look, my hands are the same colour as yours, but I'd be ashamed to have a heart so white! Who's knocking? I hear someone knocking at the south gate. We must retire to our bedroom. A little water will wash away all remnants of this deed. Then it will be easy- if you haven't lost your nerve. Listen, more impatient knocking. Get your night-clothes on in case we are disturbed, we can’t be seen to be up already. And don't let your thoughts lead you astray.”
As they left for their quarters, Macbeth continued to mope.
“I know what I've done but now it would be best if I didn't know myself. Wake Duncan with mere knocking! If only I could!”