Act 3, Scene 6
Enter LENNOX and another LORD
LENNOX and another LORD enter.
My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,
Which can interpret farther. Only I say
Things have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan
Was pitied of Macbeth. Marry, he was dead.
And the right-valiant Banquo walked too late,
Whom, you may say, if ’t please you, Fleance killed,
For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late.
Who cannot want the thought how monstrous
It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain
To kill their gracious father? Damnèd fact!
How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight
In pious rage the two delinquents tear
That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?
Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too,
For ’twould have angered any heart alive
To hear the men deny ’t. So that, I say,
He has borne all things well. And I do think
That had he Duncan’s sons under his key—
As, an’t please heaven, he shall not—they should find
What ’twere to kill a father. So should Fleance.
But, peace! For from broad words, and 'cause he failed
His presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear
Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell
Where he bestows himself?
What I’ve already said shows you we think alike, so you can draw your own conclusions. All I’m saying is that strange things have been going on. Macbeth pitied Duncan—after Duncan was dead. And Banquo went out walking too late at night. If you like, we can say that Fleance must have killed him, because Fleance fled the scene of the crime. Clearly, men should not go out walking too late! And who can help thinking how monstrous it was for Malcolm and Donalbain to kill their gracious father? Such a heinous crime—how it saddened Macbeth! Wasn’t it loyal of him to kill those two servants right away, while they were still drunk and asleep? That was the right thing to do, wasn’t it? Yes, and it was the wise thing, too, because we all would have been outraged to hear those two deny their crime. Considering all this, I think Macbeth has handled things well. If he had Duncan’s sons in prison—which I hope won’t happen—they would find out how awful the punishment is for those who kill their fathers, and so would Fleance. But enough of that. I hear that Macduff is out of favor with the king because he speaks his mind too plainly, and because he failed to show up at Macbeth’s feast. Can you tell me where he’s hiding himself?
The son of Duncan—
From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth—
Lives in the English court and is received
Of the most pious Edward with such grace
That the malevolence of fortune nothing
Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff
Is gone to pray the holy king upon his aid
To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward,
That by the help of these—with Him above
To ratify the work—we may again
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,
Do faithful homage and receive free honors.
All which we pine for now. And this report
Hath so exasperated the king that he
Prepares for some attempt of war.
Duncan’s son Malcolm, whose birthright and throne Macbeth has stolen, lives in the English court. There, the saintly King Edward treats Malcolm so well that despite Malcolm’s misfortunes, he’s not deprived of respect. Macduff went there to ask King Edward for help. He wants Edward to help him form an alliance with the people of Northumberland and their lord, Siward. Macduff hopes that with their help—and with the help of God above—he may once again put food on our tables, bring peace back to our nights, free our feasts and banquets from violent murders, allow us to pay proper homage to our king, and receive honors freely. Those are the things we pine for now. Macbeth has heard this news and he is so angry that he’s preparing for war.