MACBETH
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Macbeth found the weird sisters effortlessly, his fate was a compass. The closer he got to the cavern where the witches lurked the darker the sky became, the louder the thunder. Lightning, growing more violent and forked, like a rake of the devil, illuminated the moor. His horse stopped, as if instructed by the forces of destiny. Lightning revealed a passage into a cavern. Down in the vaults of the earth the weird sisters were preparing a spell for his arrival.

“Three times the brinded cat has mewed,” said the first witch.

“Thrice plus one did the hedgehog whine,” said the second.

“Harpier cries: it's time, it's time!” the third said.

The first witch moved closer to the boiling cauldron.

“Round about the cauldron go:

In the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad that under cold stone

Days and nights, thirty-one

Vicious venom its sleeping got,

Boil it first in this charmed pot!”

Then in unison the witches chanted into the cauldron:

“Double, double, toil and trouble,

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

The second witch came to the cauldron for her contribution to the spell.

“Fillet of a marsh snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake:

Eye of newt and toes of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder's fork and blindworm's sting,

Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

The witches then chanted together.

“Double, double, toil and trouble,

fire burn and cauldron bubble!”

Then the third of the weird sisters came forward to the cauldron to say her piece of the spell.

“Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witch's mummy, guts and gullet

Of the fed salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock, dug in the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat and slips of yew

Felled in the moon's eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-delivered by a slag:

Last, a tiger's entrails.

Our pot will create what entails.”

Again they said in unison:

“Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

The second witch concluded the spell:

“Cool it with baboon's blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.”

The completion of the spell summoned Hecate.

“Oh, well done!” Hecate glowed. “I commend your pains and everyone shall share in the gains. Now about the cauldron sing, like elves and fairies in a ring, enchanting all that you put in.”

As the witches sang Hecate disappeared and the second witch stopped the singing, anticipating the arrival of Macbeth. She Said:

“By the pricking of my thumbs,

something wicked this way comes:

Open, locks - whoever knocks!”

Macbeth entered the cavern.

“Well, you secret, black and midnight hags! What are you up to?”

“A deed without a name!” the weird sisters answered together.

That could never satisfy Macbeth now.

“I charge you, by that which you profess, to answer my questions regardless of the source of your knowledge. Though you untie the winds that destroy churches; though your ferocious waves ambush and sink ships; though ripe corn is destroyed, trees are blown down and castles are toppled on their warders' heads; though palaces and pyramids slope towards their foundations; though the matter of nature tumbles into destruction; answer me when I address you!”

“Speak,” said the first witch.

“Demand,” said the second.

“We will answer,” said the third.

“Say,” the first witch teased, “if you would rather have it from our mouths or from our masters?”

“Call them. Let me see them.”

The first witch returned to the cauldron:

“Pour in blood of a sow that has eaten her nine piglets;

Add grease that is sweat from the murderer's gibbet.”

The other two witches joined their sister.

“Come, high or low;

 thyself and office deftly show.”

The cavern trembled and suddenly a head wearing a helmet floated in front of Macbeth.

“Tell me, you unknown power -” Macbeth said to the first apparition.

“He knows your thoughts,” the first witch interrupted. “Hear him, but don't say a word.”

“Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!” said the apparition. “Beware Macduff! Beware the thane of Fife! Dismiss me! Enough.”

The vision vanished.

“Whatever you are, thank you for you warning. You guessed my fears. But one word more-”

“He will not be commanded. Here's another more potent than the first,” said the first witch.

Again the cavern shook and this time Macbeth saw a child drenched in blood.

“Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!” it said.

“If I had three ears, I'd hear you!” Macbeth said to the second apparition.

“Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh at the power of man. None born of woman can harm Macbeth.”

The child disappeared, leaving no trace of the flowing blood.

“Then live, Macduff. Why should I fear you? But I'll make doubly sure! You will not live. Fate will be binding. I can tell my cowardly fears they are groundless. I can sleep through thunder.”

Feeling strong and rejuvenated, Macbeth was faced with another apparition. This time was also of a child but this time it wore a crown and carried a tree in its hand.

“What is this that looks like a prince but wearing the king's crown on its head?” Macbeth said of the third apparition.

The witches said “Listen, but don't speak to it!”

“Be as brave as the lion, be proud and pay no attention to those who vex, fret and conspire. Macbeth shall never be vanquished until Great Birnam Wood moves to the high hill at Dunsinane.”

The apparition vanished.

“That will never be!” said Macbeth. “Who can command a forest or tell a tree to leave its roots? Fair prophecies! Good! Only when Birnam Wood attacks and the dead rise will Macbeth be threatened. I shall lead the life nature planned, long and peaceful, falling victim only to old age. Yet my heart needs to know one thing. Tell me, if you can: shall Banquo's sons ever reign in this kingdom?”

“Don't seek more answers!” said the witches, in sinister tone.

“I need to know! Deny me this and I'll curse you until eternity! Let me know -”

Macbeth's talking was interrupted by the sound of the cavern shaking and a fanfare of trumpets.

“Why is the cauldron sinking? What is that noise?”

“Show!” said the first witch.

“Show!” said the second.

“Show!” said the third.

“Show his eyes, and grieve his heart- come like shadows, then depart,” they said together.

Macbeth saw the fourth apparition - a procession of eight kings. He stared at them in disbelief.

“You are too like the ghost of Banquo! Your crown sears my eyeballs. Your hair under the golden crown looks like the first's. The third, too, is like the others! You filthy hags! Why are you showing me this? Stop! My eyes!”

He held his head and his hands for momentary peace but when he looked up he saw the fifth and six kings pass: “Will this line stretch until the end of time? Another? A seventh! I won't look!”

But he couldn't stop himself, he needed to know the unknowable.

“And there's an eighth carrying a mirror so that I can see that there is still more! Some carry two-fold balls and treble sceptres! Scotland and England united! A horrible sight! Now I see that it will be! Bloody Banquo smiles at me and points to the kings as his. What - is this so?”

“Yes, sir, all this is so. But why is Macbeth amazed?” said the first witch. “Come sisters, let's cheer up his spirits by showing him our best delights.

I'll charm the air to give a sound,

While your perform your antic round:

That this great king may kindly say

our duties did his welcome pay.”

The witches danced in front of Macbeth, then disappeared.

“Where are they? Gone? Let this day stand forever accursed in the calendar!”

Macbeth stood still. He heard movements outside the cavern.

“Come in, whoever is there!”

It was Lord Lennox.

“How can I help Your Highness?”

“Did you see the weird sisters?”

“No, my lord.”

“They didn't pass you?”

“No indeed, my lord.”

“May the air they fly on be infected! And be damned all those who trust them. I heard the galloping of horses. Who is here?”

“Just my party, my lord. I bring you word that Macduff has fled to England.”

“Fled to England?”

“Aye, my good lord.”

“Time, you are anticipating my dreadful exploits! Only when I act upon thought can I be sure I will not be overtaken. From this moment on my hand will act as quickly as my heart. Now to crown my thoughts with acts: we will seize Macduff's castle, occupy Fife and put to the sword his wife, children and anyone remotely related to him. No boasting like a fool! I'll do this before my temper cools and I lose sight of my purpose. Where are these messengers? Take me to them.”

A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch

Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch

Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter HECATE to the other three Witches

HECATE

O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i' the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' & c

HECATE retires

Second Witch

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter MACBETH

MACBETH

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
What is't you do?

ALL

A deed without a name.

MACBETH

I conjure you, by that which you profess,
Howe'er you come to know it, answer me:
Though you untie the winds and let them fight
Against the churches; though the yesty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up;
Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down;
Though castles topple on their warders' heads;
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Of nature's germens tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken; answer me
To what I ask you.

First Witch

Speak.

Second Witch

Demand.

Third Witch

We'll answer.

First Witch

Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters?

MACBETH

Call 'em; let me see 'em.

First Witch

Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten
Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten
From the murderer's gibbet throw
Into the flame.

ALL

Come, high or low;
Thyself and office deftly show!

Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head

MACBETH

Tell me, thou unknown power,--

First Witch

He knows thy thought:
Hear his speech, but say thou nought.

First Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;
Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

Descends

MACBETH

Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright: but one
word more,--

First Witch

He will not be commanded: here's another,
More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition: A bloody Child

Second Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!

MACBETH

Had I three ears, I'ld hear thee.

Second Apparition

Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.

Descends

MACBETH

Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder.

Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand

What is this
That rises like the issue of a king,
And wears upon his baby-brow the round
And top of sovereignty?

ALL

Listen, but speak not to't.

Third Apparition

Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.

Descends

MACBETH

That will never be
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!
Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art
Can tell so much: shall Banquo's issue ever
Reign in this kingdom?

ALL

Seek to know no more.

MACBETH

I will be satisfied: deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?

Hautboys

First Witch

Show!

Second Witch

Show!

Third Witch

Show!

ALL

Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
Come like shadows, so depart!

A show of Eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand; GHOST OF BANQUO following

MACBETH

Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down!
Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
A third is like the former. Filthy hags!
Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!
What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
Another yet! A seventh! I'll see no more:
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
Which shows me many more; and some I see
That two-fold balls and treble scepters carry:
Horrible sight! Now, I see, 'tis true;
For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.

Apparitions vanish

What, is this so?

First Witch

Ay, sir, all this is so: but why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights:
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round:
That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.

Music. The witches dance and then vanish, with HECATE

MACBETH

Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar!
Come in, without there!

Enter LENNOX

LENNOX

What's your grace's will?

MACBETH

Saw you the weird sisters?

LENNOX

No, my lord.

MACBETH

Came they not by you?

LENNOX

No, indeed, my lord.

MACBETH

Infected be the air whereon they ride;
And damn'd all those that trust them! I did hear
The galloping of horse: who was't came by?

LENNOX

'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word
Macduff is fled to England.

MACBETH

Fled to England!

LENNOX

Ay, my good lord.

MACBETH

Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits:
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook
Unless the deed go with it; from this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.
But no more sights!--Where are these gentlemen?
Come, bring me where they are.

Exeunt

MACBETH
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