Read Macbeth’s “The raven himself is hoarse” soliloquy below with modern English translation & analysis.

Spoken by Lady Macbeth, Macbeth Act 1 Scene 5
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’

“The Raven Himself Is Hoarse” Soliloquy Translation:
‘Even the raven – the bird of death – that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements is hoarse,’ she said aloud. She closed her eyes and raised her arms to the sky. ‘Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts. Take all my femininity away and fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood, stop me from feeling pity so that no natural feelings can get in the way.’

She put her hands on her breasts. ‘Come to my woman’s breasts, you spirits of evil, and suck gall from me where there should be milk. Come thick night and shroud me in the dunnest smoke of hell, so that my sharp knife won’t see the wound it makes, nor that the light of heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry, ‘stop! stop!’

 

See other Macbeth soliloquies >>

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