Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 1




          Enter a Doctor of Physic
          and a Waiting-Gentlewoman.

       Doctor
  1    I have two nights watched with you, but can
  2    perceive no truth in your report. When was it
  3    she last walked?

       Gentlewoman
  4    Since his majesty went into the field, I have
  5    seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown
6. closet: chest.
  6    upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold
  7    it, write upon't, read it, afterwards seal it, and again
  8    return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

       Doctor
  9    A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once
10. do the effects of watching: do the actions of a waking person. 11. agitation: activity.
 10    the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of
 11    watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her
12. actual performances: i.e., observed activities.
 12    walking and other actual performances, what, at any
 13    time, have you heard her say?

       Gentlewoman
14. That which I will not report after her: i.e., things which I will not repeat.
 14    That, sir, which I will not report after her.

       Doctor
15. meet: fitting, proper.
 15    You may to me, and 'tis most meet you
 16    should.

       Gentlewoman
17. having no witness : because I have no witness. Apparently Lady Macbeth has said what we will soon hear her say, which amounts to a confession of murder. The Gentlewoman dares not repeat such things without a witness.
 17    Neither to you nor any one; having no witness
 18    to confirm my speech.

          Enter LADY [MACBETH], with a taper.

19. her very guise: exactly the way she always looks. 20. stand close: stay out of sight.

Image Source:
Wikipedia: Sleepwalking scene
 19    Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise; and,
 20    upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

       Doctor
 21    How came she by that light?

       Gentlewoman
 22    Why, it stood by her. She has light by her
 23    continually; 'tis her command.

       Doctor
 24    You see, her eyes are open.

       Gentlewoman
25. their sense: i.e., the ability to see.

Helen Rynne
as
Lady Macbeth

Image source:
Downstream from Eden
 25    Ay, but their sense is shut.

       Doctor
 26    What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs
 27    her hands.

       Gentlewoman
 28    It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
 29    washing her hands. I have known her continue in
 30    this a quarter of an hour.

       LADY MACBETH
 31    Yet here's a spot.

       Doctor
32. set down: write down.
 32    Hark! she speaks. I will set down what comes
33. satisfy: confirm.
 33    from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more
 34    strongly.

       LADY MACBETH
 35    Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why,
 36    then, 'tis time to do't.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my
 37    lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
 38    fear who knows it, when none can call our power
 39    to account?—Yet who would have thought the old
 40    man to have had so much blood in him?

       Doctor
 41    Do you mark that?

       LADY MACBETH
 42    The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?—
 43    What, will these hands ne'er be clean?—No more o'
 44    that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with
45. this starting: these startled movements. Apparently Lady Macbeth is imagining the moments just after the murder of King Duncan, especially Macbeth's reaction to the knocking at the gate. 46. go to: "Go to" is a colloquial phrase with many possible meanings. In this case, the Doctor means something like "ai yi yi! we have a big problem."
Annika Boris
as
Lady Macbeth

Image source:
New York Times.
 45    this starting.

       Doctor
 46    Go to, go to; you have known what you should
 47    not.

       Gentlewoman
 48    She has spoke what she should not, I am sure
 49    of that; heaven knows what she has known.

       LADY MACBETH
 50    Here's the smell of the blood still. All the
 51    perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this
 52    little hand. O, O, O!

       Doctor
53. sorely charg'd: painfully overfull.
 53    What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely
 54    charg'd.

       Gentlewoman
 55    I would not have such a heart in my bosom
 56    for the dignity of the whole body.

       Doctor
 57    Well, well, well.

       Gentlewoman
58. Pray God it be, sir: The Doctor uses the phrase "well, well, well" as an expression of wonder and dismay; the Gentlewoman purposely takes the word "well" in its sense of "good, healthy." 59. beyond my practise: beyond the scope of my expertise.
 58    Pray God it be, sir.

       Doctor
 59    This disease is beyond my practise; yet I
 60    have known those which have walked in
 61    their sleep who have died holily in their beds.

       LADY MACBETH
 62    Wash your hands, put on your nightgown;
 63    look not so pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo's
64. come out on's grave: come out of his grave.
 64    buried; he cannot come out on's grave.

       Doctor
 65    Even so?

       LADY MACBETH
 66    To bed, to bed! there's knocking at the gate:
 67    come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's
 68    done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!

          Exit Lady.

       Doctor
 69    Will she go now to bed?

       Gentlewoman
 70    Directly.

       Doctor
 71    Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
 72    Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds
 73    To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
 74    More needs she the divine than the physician.
76. the means of all annoyance: anything which might cause injury. The Doctor may think Lady Macbeth might commit suicide. 77. still: always.
 75    God, God forgive us all! Look after her;
 76    Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
 77    And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night:
78. mated: stupefied, bewildered, shocked.
 78    My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
 79    I think, but dare not speak.

       Gentlewoman
                                         Good night, good doctor.

          Exeunt.