Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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The author of this book translated a scene from Macbeth by William Shakespeare, as an experiment to determine whether doing this might be a good idea for those people who would like to enjoy the place of William Shakespeare but have difficulty getting through the old English expressions and language. The scene is Act 1, Scene 7.
The author realizes that many will feel that this is an arrogant trample on the immense literary skill of William Shakespeare. He grants that his work should not be tampered with. Nevertheless, there may be some who would appreciate being able to read his great plays in current understandable English.
In the following scene there are only two speakers Macbeth and the Lady Macbeth. Each speech will be identified as the speaker on a separate line. This will be followed by the speech itself.
by William Shakespeare
Act 1, Scene 7
This scene takes place later the same evening. We see a hall in Macbeth’s castle, opening off the banquet room. There are trumpeters and people with torches. They enter and pass over the stage: a chief servant, and several other kinds of servants with dishes and items to furnish tables. Then Macbeth enters from the banquet room.
If it were over and done with when the deed is done, then it would be well if the deed were done quickly. If the consequence of the assassination could be contained; if his death brought success; if this blow were all that was needed; and the final thing that was needed, then we could jump into our new life from this point. But in cases like this, we always need to exercise judgment. If we teach how to kill, then those same instructions could well be turned against us. This evenhanded justice suggests that any poisoned chalice that we prepare for others could be brought to our lips. King Duncan is here with a double trust. I am his kinsmen and I am also his subject. These are strong points that argue against the deed; then too, as his host, I should ensure that he is protected against murder, not bear the knife myself. Besides, Duncan has carried himself so serenely, and has been so temperate in the way he’s behaved, that his virtues would plead like trumpeting angels against the deep damnation of his murder. Pity for him would be carried like naked newborn babies riding the winds or like cherubs from heaven astride invisible drafts. Pity for this horrid deed would be blown into every eye and tears would drown the wind. I would have no motive for this except colossal ambition, which could only cause me to overreach myself and fall.
[Enter Lady Macbeth]
What’s the news?
He has almost finished eating. Why did you leave the chamber?
Did he ask about me?
Don’t you know that he would?
We will not proceed any further with this business. Duncan has honored me of late; I have earned golden opinions from all sorts of people. These should be enjoyed by me now. I shouldn’t take chances on having them destroyed it so soon.
Were you drunk, then, when you took on such high ambitions? Were you asleep? Have you awakened now only to find yourself sick and cowardly? From this point, that is all that I will think your love means for me. Are you afraid to be in courage and valor as you are in desire? Do you continue to want the highest prize of your life, yet live is a coward in your own eyes, thinking “I don’t dare” instead of “I will,” like the cat in the adage [that wanted the fish but would not wet its feet]?
Peace, I beg you! I dare do anything that becomes a man. There is no man that would dare do more.
What beast was it, then, that made you reveal your plan to me? When you dared to do it, you were a man! And the more you dared, the more of a man you were. At one time, the time and place were not suitable, and you wanted both conditions to be brought about. The right circumstances brought themselves about; then you fell apart. I have suckled a baby and know how tender it is to love the baby that I give milk to. But I would rather, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipples from his toothless gums and dashed out his brains, then draw back from a deed like this once I have sworn to do it.
If we should fail . . .
Then we fail! All you need is to strengthen your resolve and we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep, as sleep will surely invite him after the day’s hard journey, I would ply his assistants with wine and other drinks so thoroughly that memory, the guardian of the brain, will turn to wisps of smoke thus dulling it. When they sleep like swine, what couldn’t you and I do to the unguarded Duncan? What couldn’t we lay upon his sodden officers, and have them bear the blame of our great kill?
Wife, bring forth male children only! Your unflinching bravery is like that in males. Will it not be believed that they did it, after we’ve marked those two sleepy attendants of his own chamber with blood? And used their own daggers?
Who would believe it any other way after we wail and show our grief when his death is discovered?
I’m ready with every fiber of my being to accomplish this terrible feet. Let’s go and deceive the world with happy faces. Our false faces must hide what are false hearts know.