SCENES FOR ACTORS

Queen & Macbeth—Act 4, Scene VII


ACT 4, SCENE VII

Palace of Bohemia: Throne Room. 

King Macbeth and Queen, mid-conversation; she wrings her hands. 

QUEEN 

Alas, he is mad as the sea and wind,  

When both contend which is the mightier. 

KING MACBETH

And could you, by no drift of circumstance

Get from him why he puts on this confusion,

Grating so harshly all his hale days with

Turbulent and dangerous lunacy? 

QUEEN

Murder cannot be hid long; a man's son

Will out the truth.  O son,  my son,  to be 

Dishonored by my son.  To be called whore?  

KING MACBETH

I do love Hamlet well; and would do much 

To cure him of this evil— 

QUEEN

Beshrew him for't! 

A mother's curse on her revolting son!

Faith, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue, 

A chafed lion by the mortal paw,

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,

Than keep in peace  this monstrous birth that I

Did bring to the world's light. 

KING MACBETH 

O heavy deed!

QUEEN

His liberty is full of threats to all; 

To you yourself, to us, to every one. 

KING MACBETH

Had he been slaughter-man to all my kin,

I should not for my life but weep with him.

To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.

QUEEN

What, weeping-ripe?  Do not weep, do not weep. 

Think but upon the wrong he'll do us all,

And that will quickly dry thy melting tears. 

For if he'll do as he is made to do— 

KING MACBETH 

Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?

QUEEN 

It will be laid to us, whose providence

Should have kept short, restrained and out of haunt,

This mad young man: but so much was our love,

We would not understand what was most fit;

But, like the owner of a foul disease,

To keep it from divulging, let it feed

Even on the pith of Life.  Come, let's not weep. 

A mother's hand shall right a mother's wrong. 

Weep not,  for all the grace that I have left

Is that I will not add to his damnation. 

Young Hamlet is my son, and he is lost.

Should I forget my son's  eternal soul? 

(Queen loses her hair)

Or that these hands could so redeem my son,

As they have given these hairs their liberty? 

His soul to heaven; his blood upon my head.