This page contains the original text of Act 3, Scene 2 of Macbeth. Shakespeare’s complete original Macbeth text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one scene per page. All Acts and scenes are listed on the Macbeth text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.

ACT3, SCENE 2. The palace.

Enter LADY MACBETH and a Servant
LADY MACBETH
Is Banquo gone from court?

Servant
Ay, madam, but returns again to-night.

LADY MACBETH
Say to the king, I would attend his leisure
For a few words.

Servant
Madam, I will.

Exit

LADY MACBETH
Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content:
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.

Enter MACBETH

How now, my lord! why do you keep alone,
Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
With them they think on? Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done is done.

MACBETH
We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it:
She’ll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth.
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the
worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep
In the affliction of these terrible dreams
That shake us nightly: better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well;
Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further.

LADY MACBETH
Come on;
Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks;
Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night.

MACBETH
So shall I, love; and so, I pray, be you:
Let your remembrance apply to Banquo;
Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:
Unsafe the while, that we
Must lave our honours in these flattering streams,
And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
Disguising what they are.

LADY MACBETH
You must leave this.

MACBETH
O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.

LADY MACBETH
But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.

MACBETH
There’s comfort yet; they are assailable;
Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown
His cloister’d flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.

LADY MACBETH
What’s to be done?

MACBETH
Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood:
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.
Thou marvell’st at my words: but hold thee still;
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
So, prithee, go with me.

Exeunt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read more scenes from Macbeth:

Macbeth in modern English | Orignal Macbeth text
Modern Macbeth Act 1, Scene 1 | Macbeth text Act 1, Scene 1
Modern Macbeth Act 1, Scene 2 | Macbeth text Act 1, Scene 2
Modern Macbeth Act 1, Scene 3 | Macbeth text Act 1, Scene 3
Modern Macbeth Act 1, Scene 4 | Macbeth text Act 1, Scene 4
Modern Macbeth Act 1, Scene 5 | Macbeth text Act 1, Scene 5
Modern Macbeth Act 1, Scene 6 | Macbeth text Act 1, Scene 6
Modern Macbeth Act 1, Scene 7 | Macbeth text Act 1, Scene 7
|
Modern Macbeth Act 2, Scene 1 | Macbeth text Act 2, Scene 1
Modern Macbeth Act 2, Scene 2 | Macbeth text Act 2, Scene 2
Modern Macbeth Act 2, Scene 3 | Macbeth text Act 2, Scene 3
Modern Macbeth Act 2, Scene 4 | Macbeth text Act 2, Scene 4
|
Modern Macbeth Act 3, Scene 1 | Macbeth text Act 3, Scene 1
Modern Macbeth Act 3, Scene 2 | Macbeth text Act 3, Scene 2
Modern Macbeth Act 3, Scene 3 | Macbeth text Act 3, Scene 3
Modern Macbeth Act 3, Scene 4 | Macbeth text Act 3, Scene 4
Modern Macbeth Act 3, Scene 5 | Macbeth text Act 3, Scene 5
Modern Macbeth Act 3, Scene 6 | Macbeth text Act 3, Scene 6
|
Modern Macbeth Act 4, Scene 1 | Macbeth text Act 4, Scene 1
Modern Macbeth Act 4, Scene 2 | Macbeth text Act 4, Scene 2
Modern Macbeth Act 4, Scene 3 | Macbeth text Act 4, Scene 3
|
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 1 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 1
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 2 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 2
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 3 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 3
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 4 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 4
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 5
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 6 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 6
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 7 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 7
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 8 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 8
Modern Macbeth Act 5, Scene 9 | Macbeth text Act 5, Scene 9

 

Read all of Shakespeare’s plays translated to modern English >>