Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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pg 25565.1Sc. 20

Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting Gentlewoman

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

Editor’s Note3

gentlewoman Since his majesty went into the field I have seen her 4rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her Editor’s Note5closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon't, read it, afterwards 6seal it, and again return to bed, yet all this while in a most fast 7sleep.


doctor A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the benefit of Editor’s Note9sleep and do the effects of watching. In this slumbery agitation, besides Editor’s Note10her walking and other actual performances, what at any time have 11you heard her say?


gentlewoman That, sir, which I will not report after her.


doctor You may to me, and 'tis most meet you should.


gentlewoman Neither to you nor anyone, having no witness to 15confirm my speech.

Editor’s NoteEnter Lady, with a taper

Editor’s Note16Lo you, here she comes. This is her very guise, and, upon my life, fast Editor’s Note17asleep. Observe her. Stand close.


doctor How came she by that light?


gentlewoman Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually; 20'tis her command.


doctor You see her eyes are open.


gentlewoman Ay, but their sense are shut.


doctor What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.


gentlewoman It is an accustomed action with her to seem thus 25washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an 26hour.


lady Yet here's a spot.


doctor Hark, she speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to Editor’s Note29satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

Editor’s Note30

lady [rubbing her hands] Out, damned spot; out, I say!—One, two: 31why then, 'tis time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, 32and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our 33power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have 34had so much blood in him?


doctor Do you mark that?

Editor’s Note36

lady The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What, will 37these hands ne'er be clean? No more o' that, my lord, no more o' that. Editor’s Note38You mar all with this starting.


doctor Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.


gentlewoman She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that. 41Heaven knows what she has known.


lady Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will 43not sweeten this little hand. O, O, O!

pg 2557 Editor’s Note44

doctor What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.


gentlewoman I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the 46dignity of the whole body.


doctor Well, well, well.


gentlewoman Pray God it be, sir.

Editor’s Note49

doctor This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have known those 50which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.

Editor’s Note51

lady Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so pale. I Editor’s Note52tell you yet again, Banquo's buried. He cannot come out on's grave.


doctor Even so?


lady To bed, to bed. There's knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, 55come. Give me your hand. What's done cannot be undone. To bed, to 56bed, to bed.

Exit Lady

doctor Will she go now to bed?


gentlewoman Directly.


doctor Foul whisp'rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds

60Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds

61To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.

62More needs she the divine than the physician.

63God, God, forgive us all! Look after her.

Editor’s Note64Remove from her the means of all annoyance,

65And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night.

Editor’s Note66My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.

67I think, but dare not speak.


gentlewoman Good night, good doctor.

Editor’s NoteExeunt

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
5.1.3 field battlefield
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5.1.5 closet cupboard, chest
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5.1.9 do…watching act as if awake
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5.1.9 slumbery agitation i.e. sleep- walking (agitation, physical movement)
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5.1.10 actual active
Editor’s Note Enter Lady, with a taper She is wearing a nightgown. The taper further indicates the night-time setting.
Editor’s Note
5.1.16 her very guise i.e. exactly what she does
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5.1.17 close aside
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5.1.29 satisfy reassure
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5.1.30 One, two spoken as though she hears the bell toll
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5.1.36 What … clean spoken either of her own hands, or in echo of Macbeth's words at 2.2.57–60
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5.1.38 this starting these startled movements
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5.1.44 charged burdened
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5.1.49 practice skill
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5.1.51–4 Wash … grave spoken as if to Macbeth; likewise 5.1.54–6
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5.1.52 on's of his
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5.1.64 annoyance (self-)injury
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5.1.66 mated stupefied
Editor’s Note Exeunt The Gentlewoman probably follows Macbeth's Lady, the Doctor leaving by another door.
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