Macbeth by Shakespeare – Act 2

Scene 1 – Inverness – court within the castle [ENTER BANQUO & FLEANCE WITH A TORCH]

Banquo: How are things, son?

Fleance: The moon’s down but the clock hasn’t gone off.

Banquo: & it goes down at 12.

Fleance: It feels later than that.

Banquo: Take my sword. The heavens are conserving resources. Their candles are out. I’m tired but I can’t sleep. I’ve been preoccupied with something that keeps me from nodding off. [ENTER MACBETH WITH SERVANT & A TORCH]

Banquo: Can’t sleep either? The king’s asleep & very happy with your performance. Your wife put on quite a spread tonight. He wants her to have this diamond.

Macbeth: We weren’t quite prepared for it as we would’ve liked it.

Banquo: He’s happy… I dreamt last night about those witches who told you of your immediate fortune.

Macbeth: Really? I haven’t thought of them at all. But when we get the chance, let’s talk about them.

Banquo: Whenever you like.

Macbeth: Yes, let’s do that…

Banquo: I’d like my honors but I want to keep my clear conscience in doing so. I’d like to hear your advice…

Macbeth: Sleep on it, then.

Banquo: You, too! [BANQUO & FLEANCE LEAVE]

Macbeth: Go tell your mistress to strike the bell when my drink is ready & then go to bed. [SERVANT LEAVES] That dagger there. Let me hold you. I’m not actually holding you but I can see you. A fatal vision. Is it in my mind, falsely from an overworked mind? But I see you in a physical form. You’re taking me to where I was already going & using you as I was already going to do. My eyes are either fools compared to the other senses or the only sense working. I still see you. I see the blood on the blade that wasn’t there before. But there’s no dagger. It’s only the murder in my mind that makes me see it. Most of the world is asleep & are haunted by nightmares. Witchcraft celebrates Hecate’s offerings. Murder has been woken up by his watchman, the wolf, & moves quietly towards his target moving like Tarquin, quietly like a ghost. Hard ground, don’t let my steps be so I can’t be discovered. Take away my fear. While I speak, Duncan’s still alive. Words now only take away my courage to do it… [BELL RINGS] I’ll go & it’s over. The bell makes me do it. Don’t listen, Duncan. It’s just either taking you to heaven or hell. [EXIT]

Scene 2 – Same setting [ENTER LADY MACBETH]

Lady Macbeth: Whatever got them drunk is getting my blood up. Oh… That was an owl shrieking for a dying man. Macbeth must be at work. The doors are open & the guards are passed out & snoring… So drunk they may even die.

Macbeth: [OFFSTAGE] Who’s there?!?

Lady Macbeth: Oh, damn. They must be awake! It hasn’t been done yet. I put their daggers in the right place. He couldn’t miss them. If he hadn’t looked like my father, I would’ve done it myself. [ENTER MACBETH]

Macbeth: I’ve done it. Did you hear anything?

Lady Macbeth: An owl & some crickets. Did you say anything?

Macbeth: When? Now? As I was coming down the stairs?

Lady Macbeth: Yes.

Macbeth: Listen… Who’s in the next room?

Lady Macbeth: Donalbain.

Macbeth: [LOOKS AT HANDS] This doesn’t look good.

Lady Macbeth: That’s a silly thing to say.

Macbeth: One guard was laughing in his sleep & the other cried “Murder!” They woke each other up. But they said their prayers & went back to sleep. One said “God bless us” & the other, “Amen” as if they saw me as their executioner. Listening to their fear, I couldn’t say “Amen” along with them.

Lady Macbeth: Stop thinking about it.

Macbeth: Why could I not say it when I needed the blessing?

Lady Macbeth: Let’s stop thinking about it or we’ll go crazy.

Macbeth: I thought I heard a voice say “Sleep no more because Macbeth will be murdering the innocent sleep that rolls up like a yarn & the death of each day’s life that tends to our daily wounds.

Lady Macbeth: What are you talking about?

Macbeth: Glamis’s murdered sleep & Cawdor will sleep no more… Macbeth will sleep no more.

Lady Macbeth: Who was it that cried out? You’re not doing yourself any favors carrying on like that. Go get some water to wash your hands. Why’d you bring those daggers out here? They need to be in there next to the sleeping guards.

Macbeth: I’m not going back in there. I can barely think of what I’ve done let alone look at it again.

Lady Macbeth: Coward! Give them to me. The sleeping & the dead are just pictures. Only kids are afraid of them. If he’s still bleeding, I’ll rub the guards’ faces with the blood as evidence of their guilt. [LEAVES] [KNOCK WITHIN]

Macbeth: Where’s that knock coming from? How is it that every noise is getting to me? What are these hands? They’re plucking my eyes out. Can all the ocean’s water wash this blood from my hands? Now, these hands will stain the ocean red. [RE-ENTER LADY MACBETH]

Lady Macbeth: My hands are blood-stained too but I would be ashamed to be as cowardly as you. [KNOCK WITHIN] I hear knocking at the Southern Entrance. Let’s go to bed. Water will wash our hands of this deed. It’s easy. You’ve lost your determination. [KNOCK WITHIN] Listen. More knocking. Put on your pyjamas in case someone sees us awake. Snap out of it!!

Macbeth: To understand my deed, it’d be best not to know myself [KNOCK WITHIN] You’ll wake Duncan like that. I would you would. [BOTH LEAVE]

Scene 3 – Same setting. [KNOCK WITHIN] [ENTER A PORTER]

Porter: That’s some knocking there. If I were in charge of the gates of hell, I’d have time to answer. [KNOCK WITHIN] Knock! Knock! Who the hell could that be? Maybe it’s a farmer who hanged himself after wrongly expecting a bumper crop. Come on in, it’s gonna get sweaty in here. [KNOCK WITHIN] Who in the hell can it be? I’ll bet it’s a con man who thought he could swindle justice but couldn’t do it to heaven. Come on in. [KNOCK WITHIN] Who is it? It’s an England tailor who had spent his life selling fake French clothing. Come on in. [KNOCK WITHIN] Never at peace. What is going on? This place is too cold for hell. I’m not going to be the devil’s porter anymore. I thought I had let everyone into hell already. [KNOCK WITHIN] All right, all right. [OPENS GATE] [ENTER MACDUFF & LENNOX]

Macduff: What took you so long? Been a late night?

Porter: We were out drinking late & that can make a man do 3 things.

Macduff: Go on…

Porter: It turns your nose red, puts you to sleep & makes you piss. But it turns your lechery on & off. Too much can make you want to be lecherous but it disappoints you. It makes you hard but then takes the hardness away & leaves you wanting what you can’t have. It messes with your sleep by giving you naughty dreams & then it takes that away.

Macduff: The drink has definitely messed with your sleep last night.

Porter: It certainly did. In the throat. It took my legs away & I sicked everything back up.

Macduff: … Is your master awake? [MACBETH ENTER] Our knocking has woken him up.

Lennox: Hello, sir.

Macbeth: Hello to both of you.

Macduff: Is the king awake?

Macbeth: Not yet.

Macduff: He asked me to wake him up early. We’re almost late.

Macbeth: I’ll take you to him.

Macduff: I know it’s trouble to host the king but it’s a pain & an honor.

Macbeth: We delight in what we have to do. This is the door.

Macduff: I have to wake him up. It’s my job… [MACDUFF EXITS]

Lennox: Is the king leaving today?

Macbeth: That was the plan.

Lennox: Tonight has been a wild one. The chimneys blew down where we were sleeping. Some said they heard cries of death & talked of terrible things.

Macbeth: It was a rough night.

Lennox: I can’t recall one like it. [MACDUFF RE-ENTERS]

Macduff: Oh, the horror! I can hardly speak!

Macbeth & Lennox: What’s wrong?

Macduff: The worst possible thing. A murderer broke into God’s temple & took the life from it.

Macbeth: What? “The life”?

Lennox: You mean the king?

Macduff: Go in yourself. Ring the alarm bell! Murder! Treason! Banquo! Donalbain! Malcolm! You have to come in here to see this. Ring the bell. [BELL RINGS] [ENTER LADY MACBETH]

Lady Macbeth: What’s going on? Why the alarm?

Macduff: Oh, Lady Macbeth. I shouldn’t tell a lady what’s happened. It would kill you. [ENTER BANQUO] Banquo! The king’s been murdered!

Lady Macbeth: In our house?

Banquo: How horrible! Say it isn’t so! [RE-ENTER MACBETH, LENNOX & ROSS]

Macbeth: If I had died an hour earlier, I could say that I’d lived a great life. But life has no meaning anymore! [ENTER MALCOLM & DONALBAIN]

Donalbain: What’s wrong?

Macbeth: The source of your royalty is come to an end.

Macduff: Your father has been murdered!

Malcolm: Who did it?

Lennox: It looks like his guards did it. Their faces & hands are covered in bloods, along with their daggers hidden under their pillows. They looked out of it. No man should have been entrusted to them.

Macbeth: I regret the anger that made me kill them!

Macduff: Why’d you do it?

Macbeth: Is it possible to be wise, amazed, temperate, furious, loyal & neutral all at once? No one can do that. My violent love for Duncan made me do it before I could stop. I saw Duncan there with pale skin covered in blood next to the murderers who were also covered in blood. Who could resist doing what I did?

Lady Macbeth: Help, get me out of here.

Macduff: Go help her.

Malcolm: [ASIDE TO DONALBAIN] Why are we so quiet? Surely we have the most to say about this.

Donalbain: [ASIDE TO MALCOLM] What should we say when what’s happened to father could happen to us? We haven’t even started crying. Let’s get out of here.

Malcolm: [ASIDE TO DONALBAIN] Now’s not the time to do anything.

Banquo: Take care of the lady. [EXIT LADY MACBETH ATTENDED] Let’s all get dressed & investigate this. As it is, we’re all spooked. I’m putting faith in God to get to the bottom of this.

Macduff: So do I.

All: Me too.

Macbeth: Let’s get dressed & meet in the hall.


Malcolm: What are you going to do? Let’s not stay here. I don’t trust any of them. I’m going to England.

Donalbain: I’m going to Ireland. If we stay separate, we’ll both be safe. There are daggers with our names on them here. Some one is dying to kill us.

Malcolm: We haven’t run into the real trouble yet. What’s best is to avoid it altogether. Let’s get out of here. Let’s not even bother to say goodbye. No one’s going to show us any mercy. [BOTH LEAVE]


Scene 4 – Outside the castle. [ENTER ROSS & AN OLD MAN]

Old Man: I remember the last 70 years & I’ve seen all kinds of crazy things go on in this castle. But last night takes the cake.

Ross: You see that the heavens are upset by man’s behaviors & now there’s fighting back. The clock says it’s day but night is blotting out the sun. Is the sun so weak it can be blocked by all this evil happening?

Old Man: This is unnatural just like this murder. Last Tuesday, I saw a falcon fly over & it was killed by an mousing owl.

Ross: Duncan’s beautiful & fast horses turned wild & broke out of their stalls & bolted. They lost all semblance of obedience.

Old Man: They say the horses ate each other.

Ross: I saw it myself… Here comes Macduff [ENTER MACDUFF] How’s it going?

Macduff: Can’t you see for yourself?

Ross: Any ideas on who did it?

Macduff: The ones Macbeth killed.

Ross: What good would it do the servants?

Macduff: They were paid off. Malcolm & Donalbain ran away. Maybe they had something to do with it.

Ross: Even more unnatural. Why would sons kill their father? Now Macbeth will be king.

Macduff: He’s already left for Scone to be crowned.

Ross: Where’s Duncan’s body?

Macduff: Taken to Colmekill where his ancestors are buried.

Ross: Are you going to Scone?

Macduff: No, to Fife.

Ross: I’m going to Scone.

Macduff: Good luck on the way.

Ross: Goodbye, old man!

Old Man: May God protect you both. [ALL LEAVE]


Author: knowit68

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