I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?
I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
Did not you speak?
Owls are nocturnal and traditionally seen as birds of darkness.
These lines are all shared lines, in which Lady Macbeth and Macbeth share lines of iambic pentameter and ask each other questions. What does this tell you about them, how they feel and what might be happening around them? What do their short replies show you?
Hark – Who lies i’th’ second chamber?
This is a sorry sight.
A foolish thought,
To say a sorry sight.
It is silly to think about regret. This is a positive act for us.
There’s one did laugh in’s sleep,
And one cried ‘Murder’, that they did wake each other.
I stood and heard them. But they did say their prayers,
And addressed them again to sleep.
Who is Macbeth scared of here and why? What might make him afraid?
There are two lodged together.
One cried ‘God bless us’, and ‘Amen’ the other,
As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands;
List’ning their fear, I could not say ‘Amen’,
When they did say 'God bless us’.
When they saw me with the blood on my hands like an executioner, the men were scared and cried out to God, but I could not say the last word of the prayer in response.
Consider it not so deeply.
But wherefore could not I pronounce ‘Amen‘?
I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen‘
Stuck in my throat.
These deeds must not be thought
After these ways: so, it will make us mad.
Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more;
Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast’.
What do you think causes Macbeth to hear the voice?
Sleep repairs the damage of the day, in the same way you might sew back the edge of sleeve that has frayed. It is like a relaxing bath at the end of a tiring work day.
What do you mean?
Still it cried ‘Sleep no more’ to all the house:
‘Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more – Macbeth shall sleep no more’.
Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength to think
So brain-sickly of things – Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there – go carry them, and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
You are weakening yourself by thinking in such an anxious way.
I’ll go no more:
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on’t again, I dare not.
Infirm of purpose;
Give me the daggers; the sleeping, and the dead,
Are but as pictures, ’tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
For it must seem their guilt.
(Text edited for rehearsals by Polly Findlay and Zoe Svendsen)