Scene Two


A spot falls downstage right, and we see LADY MACDUFF, an attractive kindly woman in the midst of talking to her SON, a child of about ten, old beyond his years.
LADY MACDUFF
Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.

SON

And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?

LADY MACDUFF

Every one.

SON

Who must hang them?

LADY MACDUFF

Why the honest men.

SON

Then the liars and swearers are fools,
For there are liars and swearers enow to beat
The honest men and hang them up.

LADY MACDUFF

Now, God help thee, poor monkey!
But how wilt thou do for a father?

SON

If he were dead. You'ld weep for him:
If you would not, it were a good sign
That I should quickly have a new father.

LADY MACDUFF

Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!

                                                                (HUMPHREY enters, bows.)

HUMPHREY

The king comes here tonight.

LADY MACDUFF

The king?

HUMPHREY

So please you, it is true: our thane is coming.
                                                              (HE begins to realize he has gotten the wrong scroll.)
One of my fellows had the speed of him,
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more…

LADY MACDUFF

Methinks you got the wrong message.

HUMPHREY

Methinks so, too. Can you forgiveth me?

LADY MACDUFF

I don't know if I can forgiveth you, but I can forgive you.

HUMPHREY

                                                              (aside)
Methinks I was around the "doneth me wrong" wench too long.
                                                             (to Lady Macduff)
I shall take my leave and find thee the rightful message.
                                                             (aside)
Oi! Is Benedict in for it! (BLACKOUT on that side of the stage---spot comes up on left side of the stage. LADY MACBETH, as formidable-looking as Lady Macduff is benevolent, paces a small area, reading a letter she holds in one hand. In the other is a lighted candle so that she can see properly.)
LADY MACBETH
To catch the nearest way, thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou wouldst have, great Glamis,
That which cries, 'Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
And that which rather thou must fear to do
Than wishest should be undone.' Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal.
                                                            (BENEDICT enters.)
What is your tidings?

BENEDICT

Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
Though in your state of honour I am perfect.

LADY MACBETH

What? What dost thou say?

BENEDICT

I doubt some danger does approach you nearly.

LADY MACBETH

Danger! To me!

BENEDICT

If you will take a homely man's advice,
Be not found here; hence with your little ones.

LADY MACBETH

What little ones?

BENEDICT

                                                              (aside)
I got the wrong scroll! What do I do now?
                                                             (quickly)
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
I dare abide no longer. (HE scrunches his cheeks to show his dimples, but this has absolutely no affect on her. HE makes a hasty retreat.)
LADY MACBETH
You come back here! (SHE rushes after him and tries to light him afire with the candle. HE blows it out. Then SHE grabs a hunk of his hair so powerfully, SHE forces him to his knees.)
BENEDICT
Ow, you're hurting me!

LADY MACBETH

You came here deliberately to frighten me!

BENEDICT

Look, lady. I got the wrong message.

LADY MACBETH

To frighten me and to mock me that I do not have little ones! Who hast sent you! My mother-in-law?

BENEDICT

I'll go back and get the right message. Let go of my hair! (HE punches her in the stomach. SHE screams and releases her hold. BENEDICT rushes out.)
LADY MACBETH
Husband! HUSBAND!

                                                           (MACBETH appears.)

LADY MACBETH

A messenger just punched me in the stomach!

MACBETH

Come now, my dearest, why wouldst a messenger punch you in the stomach?

LADY MACBETH

How should I know? You must avenge me! Go after him now!

MACBETH

But, dearest, I cannot.

LADY MACBETH

You are going to allow a common ordinary messenger to punch your wife in the stomach and get away with it?

MACBETH

Of course not. But I just got home from battle and---
I got enough on me plate,
My destiny calls now---
I must follow my fate---
So please stop busting my balls now!

I got so much on me plate,
My ego hath shrunken---
Good Lord, canst thou wait
Until I polish off Duncan?

There are so many murders to do,
Life gets a trifle bewilderin'---
There's Banquo and Fleance and bodyguards, too,
And Lady Macduff and her children.

Never once do you think of me---
Only a messenger you hate;
My God, woman, canst thou see
I got enough on me plate?
I got enough on me plate!


LADY MACBETH

You got enough on your plate
So you tremble like jelly;
You will sit there and wait
While I've been punched in the belly.

You keep on talking of fate---
You will listen to witches---
You will start to feel great
While I may have to have stitches.

Always I've treated you with such grace
But the way that you treat me's a scandal---
I'm learning this moment exactly the place
I'd like to be shoving this candle.

Who conceived the entire plot?
Only little old me, your mate!
Soon I'll be crying, "Out damned spot!"
Since you have enough on your plate,
Since you have enough on your plate!

Now do you know where the Messengers' Cottage is?

MACBETH

Methinks yes.

LADY MACBETH

Then let us away!

MACBETH

But we cannot! Duncan comes to dinner tonight.

LADY MACBETH

He can come tomorrow night.

MACBETH

But what if he hast made other plans?

LADY MACBETH

Then the night after that or the night after that night. Not everyone has enough on his plate.

MACBETH

But we are to dispose of him after dinner.

LADY MACBETH

Did those three tickle-brained witches say it has to be tonight?

MACBETH

They never said it straight out.

LADY MACBETH

Then we hire a messenger to go to him and tell him cook has dropsy. And instead of disposing of Duncan, we dispose of the messenger. Besides, it's good training.
 
 


LIGHTS DIM RAPIDLY