• Enter LADY MACBETH and a SERVANT

    LADY MACBETH

    Is Banquo gone from court?

    SERVANT

    Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.

    LADY MACBETH

    Say to the king I would attend his leisure
    For a few words.

    SERVANT

    5Madam, I will.
    Exit SERVANT

    LADY MACBETH

    Naught’s had, all’s spent,
    Where our desire is got without content.
    'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
    Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
    Enter MACBETH
    10How now, my lord! Why do you keep alone,
    Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
    Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
    With them they think on? Things without all remedy
    Should be without regard. What’s done is done.

    MACBETH

    15We have scorched the snake, not killed it.
    She’ll close and be herself whilst our poor malice
    Remains in danger of her former tooth.
    But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
    Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
    20In the affliction of these terrible dreams
    That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,
    Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
    Than on the torture of the mind to lie
    In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave.
    25After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.
    Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison,
    Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
    Can touch him further.
  • LADY MACBETH and a SERVANT enter.

    LADY MACBETH

    Has Banquo left the court?

    SERVANT

    Yes, madam, but he’ll be back tonight.

    LADY MACBETH

    Go tell the king I want to talk to him for a few minutes.

    SERVANT

    No problem, madam.
    The SERVANT exits.

    LADY MACBETH

    If you get what you want and you’re still not happy, you’ve spent everything and gained nothing. It’s better to be the person who gets murdered than to be the killer and be tormented with anxiety.
    MACBETH enters.
    What’s going on, my lord? Why are you keeping to yourself, with only your sad thoughts to keep you company? Those thoughts should have died when you killed the men you’re thinking about. If you can’t fix it, you shouldn’t give it a second thought. What’s done is done.

    MACBETH

    We have slashed the snake but not killed it. It will heal and be as good as new, and we’ll be threatened by its fangs once again. But the universe can fall apart, and heaven and earth crumble, before I’ll eat my meals in fear and spend my nights tossing and turning with these nightmares I’ve been having. I’d rather be dead than endure this endless mental torture and harrowing sleep deprivation. We killed those men and sent them to rest in peace so that we could gain our own peace. Duncan lies in his grave, through with life’s troubles, and he’s sleeping well. We have already done the worst we can do to him with our treason. After that, nothing can hurt him further—not weapons, poison, rebellion, invasion, or anything else.