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20 October 2014
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Macbeth

Lady Macbeth: "The raven himself is hoarse" (Act 1 Scene 5)

There are many ways that you could perform this speech; the Speech Text and Performance Notes explore some different approaches.

Speech Text and Performance Notes (190KB)

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's bloodiest plays. Just before this speech Lady Macbeth receives a letter from her husband. Macbeth writes that he has met three witches who have informed him that he will become King of Scotland. Lady Macbeth immediately starts thinking of ways to make her husband king, perhaps even by killing King Duncan.

Watch some contrasting performances of the speech below or choose another from the set speech list

The raven himself is hoarse - videos

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Macbeth: Act 1 Scene 5
(Lady Macbeth)

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull
Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,
Stop up th'access and passage to remorse
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between
Th'effect and it. Come to my woman's breasts
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry, 'Hold, hold.'

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