This page contains the original text of Act 4, 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.


ACT 4, SCENE 2. Fife. Macduff’s castle.

Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and ROSS
LADY MACDUFF
What had he done, to make him fly the land?

ROSS
You must have patience, madam.

LADY MACDUFF
He had none:
His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.

ROSS
You know not
Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.

LADY MACDUFF
Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
His mansion and his titles in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch: for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
All is the fear and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.

ROSS
My dearest coz,
I pray you, school yourself: but for your husband,
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
The fits o’ the season. I dare not speak
much further;
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
But float upon a wild and violent sea
Each way and move. I take my leave of you:
Shall not be long but I’ll be here again:
Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
Blessing upon you!

LADY MACDUFF
Father’d he is, and yet he’s fatherless.

ROSS
I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my disgrace and your discomfort:
I take my leave at once.

Exit

LADY MACDUFF
Sirrah, your father’s dead;
And what will you do now? How will you live?

Son
As birds do, mother.

LADY MACDUFF
What, with worms and flies?

Son
With what I get, I mean; and so do they.

LADY MACDUFF
Poor bird! thou’ldst never fear the net nor lime,
The pitfall nor the gin.

Son
Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
My father is not dead, for all your saying.

LADY MACDUFF
Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?

Son
Nay, how will you do for a husband?

LADY MACDUFF
Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.

Son
Then you’ll buy ‘em to sell again.

LADY MACDUFF
Thou speak’st with all thy wit: and yet, i’ faith,
With wit enough for thee.

Son
Was my father a traitor, mother?

LADY MACDUFF
Ay, that he was.

Son
What is a traitor?

LADY MACDUFF
Why, one that swears and lies.

Son
And be all traitors that do so?

LADY MACDUFF
Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.

Son
And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?

LADY MACDUFF
Every one.

Son
Who must hang them?

LADY MACDUFF
Why, the honest men.

Son
Then the liars and swearers are fools,
for there are liars and swearers enow to beat
the honest men and hang up them.

LADY MACDUFF
Now, God help thee, poor monkey!
But how wilt thou do for a father?

Son
If he were dead, you’ld weep for
him: if you would not, it were a good sign
that I should quickly have a new father.

LADY MACDUFF
Poor prattler, how thou talk’st!

Enter a Messenger

Messenger
Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
Though in your state of honour I am perfect.
I doubt some danger does approach you nearly:
If you will take a homely man’s advice,
Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
I dare abide no longer.

Exit

LADY MACDUFF
Whither should I fly?
I have done no harm. But I remember now
I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
Is often laudable, to do good sometime
Accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas,
Do I put up that womanly defence,
To say I have done no harm?

Enter Murderers

What are these faces?

First Murderer
Where is your husband?

LADY MACDUFF
I hope, in no place so unsanctified
Where such as thou mayst find him.

First Murderer
He’s a traitor.

Son
Thou liest, thou shag-hair’d villain!

First Murderer
What, you egg!

Stabbing him

Young fry of treachery!

Son
He has kill’d me, mother:
Run away, I pray you!

Dies

Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying ‘Murder!’ Exeunt Murderers, following her

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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

 

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