This is a list of the best Shakespeare scenes. This page is separated into three sections: male/female, male/male and female/female Shakespeare scenes. Click on a scene box to find out more information about that scene. Some include the full text, punctuated by Stage Milk and others include information about the scene. These are what we consider to be Shakespeare’s finest scenes and so they are all great. They are fantastic for performance or reading. We have marked the comedy scenes, but remember Shakespeare has comedy and lightness throughout even his most serious scenes.
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Male/Female Shakespeare Scenes
O, were that all! I think not on my father,
And these great tears grace his remembrance more
Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
I have forgot him; my imagination
Carries no favour in’t but Bertram’s.
I am undone; there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away; ’twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me.
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
Th’ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. ‘Twas pretty, though plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart’s table – heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.
But now he’s gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?
One that goes with him; I love him for his sake,
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix’d evils sit so fit in him
That they take place, when virtue’s steely bones
Look bleak i’ th’ cold wind; withal, full oft we see
Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
Save you, fair queen!
And you, monarch!
Are you meditating on virginity?
Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let me
ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how
may we barricado it against him?
Keep him out.
But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant,
in the defence yet is weak. Unfold to us some
There is none. Man setting down before you will
undermine you and blow you up.
Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
blowers-up! Is there no military policy, how
virgins might blow up men?
Virginity being blown down man will quicklier be
blown up; marry, in blowing him down again, with
the breach yourselves made you lose your city. It
is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to
preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational
increase and there was never virgin got till
virginity was first lost. That you were made of is
mettle to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost,
may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is
ever lost. ‘Tis too cold a companion. Away with ‘t!
I will stand for ‘t a little, though therefore I die a virgin.
There’s little can be said in ‘t; ’tis against the
rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity
is to accuse your mothers, which is most infallible
disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin;
virginity murthers itself, and should be buried in
highways out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate
offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites,
much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very
paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.
Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of
self-love which is the most inhibited sin in the
canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose
by’t. Out with ‘t! Within ten year it will make
itself two, which is a goodly increase; and the
principal itself not much the worse. Away with ‘t!
How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?
Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne’er it
likes. ‘Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with
lying; the longer kept, the less worth. Off with’t
while ’tis vendible; answer the time of request.
Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out
of fashion, richly suited, but unsuitable: just
like the brooch and the tooth-pick, which wear not
now. Your date is better in your pie and your
porridge than in your cheek; and your virginity,
your old virginity, is like one of our French
withered pears, it looks ill, it eats drily; marry,
’tis a withered pear; it was formerly better;
marry, yet ’tis a withered pear: will you anything with it?
Not my virginity; yet…
There shall your master have a thousand loves,
A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;
His humble ambition, proud humility,
His jarring concord, and his discord-dulcet,
His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he–
I know not what he shall. God send him well!
The court’s a learning-place, and he is one–
What one, i’ faith?
That I wish well. ‘Tis pity–
That wishing well had not a body in’t
Which might be felt, that we, the poorer born,
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
Might with effects of them follow our friends,
And show what we alone must think, which never
Return us thanks.
Enter BERTRAM and the maid called DIANA
They told me that your name was Fontybell.
No, my good lord, Diana.
And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,
In your fine frame hath love no quality?
If quick fire of youth light not your mind
You are no maiden, but a monument.
When you are dead, you should be such a one
As you are now; for you are cold and stem,
And now you should be as your mother was
When your sweet self was got.
She then was honest.
So should you be.
My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
As you owe to your wife.
No more a’ that!
I prithee do not strive against my vows;
I was compell’d to her, but I love thee
By love’s own sweet constraint, and will for ever
Do thee all rights of service.
Ay, so you serve us
Till we serve you; but when you have our roses,
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,
And mock us with our bareness.
How have I sworn!
‘Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
But the plain single vow that is vow’d true.
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
But take the high’st to witness; then, pray you, tell me:
If I should swear by Jove’s great attributes
I lov’d you dearly, would you believe my oaths
When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
To swear by Him whom I protest to love
That I will work against Him. Therefore your oaths
Are words, and poor conditions but unseal’d -
At least in my opinion.
Change it, change it.
Be not so holy-cruel; love is holy;
And my integrity ne’er knew the crafts
That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
But give thyself unto my sick desires,
Who then recover. Say thou art mine, and ever
My love as it begins shall so persever.
I see that men make ropes in such a scarre,
That we’ll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
I’ll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
To give it from me.
Will you not, my lord?
It is an honour ‘longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors,
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose.
Mine honour’s such a ring;
My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion Honour on my part
Against your vain assault.
Here, take my ring;
My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine,
And I’ll be bid by thee.
When midnight comes, knock at my chamber-window;
I’ll order take my mother shall not hear.
Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
When you have conquer’d my yet maiden bed,
Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me.
My reasons are most strong and you shall know them
When back again this ring shall be deliver’d;
And on your finger in the night I’ll put
Another ring, that what in time proceeds
May token to the future our past deeds
Adieu till then; then, fail not. You have won
A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.
For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
You may so in the end.
My mother told me just how he would woo
As if she sat in ‘s heart. She says all men
Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me
When his wife’s dead; therefore I’ll lie with him
When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
Marry that will, I live and die a maid.
Only, in this disguise, I think’t no sin
To cozen him that would unjustly win.
Enter MARK ANTONY
I am sick and sullen.
I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose–
Help me away, dear Charmian! I shall fall!
It cannot be thus long; the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
Now, my dearest queen–
Pray you, stand further from me!
What’s the matter?
I know by that same eye there’s some good news.
What says the married woman you may go?
Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say ’tis I that keep you here.
I have no power upon you; hers you are.
The gods best know–
O, never was there queen
So mightily betrayed! Yet at the first
I saw the treasons planted.
Why should I think you can be mine and true –
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods –
Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows
Which break themselves in swearing!
Most sweet queen –
Nay, pray you seek no colour for your going,
But bid farewell and go. When you sued staying,
Then was the time for words; no going then.
Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows’ bent; none our parts so poor
But was a race of heaven. They are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn’d the greatest liar.
How now, lady?
I would I had thy inches! Thou shouldst know
There were a heart in Egypt!
Hear me, queen.
The strong necessity of time commands
Our services awhile, but my full heart
Remains in use with you. Our Italy
Shines o’er with civil swords; Sextus Pompeius
Makes his approaches to the port of Rome;
Equality of two domestic powers
Breed scrupulous faction; the hated, grown to strength,
Are newly grown to love; the condemned Pompey,
Rich in his father’s honour, creeps apace
Into the hearts of such as have not thrived
Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten;
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
By any desperate change. My more particular,
And that which most with you should safe my going,
Is Fulvia’s death.
Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
It does from childishness. Can Fulvia die?
She’s dead, my queen. (Gives her the letters.)
Look here, and at thy sovereign leisure read
The garboils she awaked. At the last, best:
See when and where she died.
O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia’s death, how mine received shall be.
Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As you shall give the advice. By the fire
That quickens Nilus’ slime, I go from hence
Thy soldier, servant, making peace or war
As thou affects.
Cut my lace, Charmian, come!
But let it be; I am quickly ill, and well,
So Antony loves.
My precious queen, forbear,
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
So Fulvia told me.
I prithee, turn aside and weep for her,
Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears
Belong to Egypt. Good now, play one scene
Of excellent dissembling; and let it look
Life perfect honour.
You’ll heat my blood. No more.
You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
Now by my sword–
And target. Still he mends,
But this is not the best. Look, prithee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Roman does become
The carriage of his chafe.
I’ll leave you, lady.
Courteous lord, one word:
Sir, you and I must part, but that’s not it:
Sir, you and I have loved, but there’s not it;
That you know well. Something it is I would–
O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten!
But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.
‘Tis sweating labour
To bear such idleness so near the heart
As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me,
Since my becomings kill me when they do not
Eye well to you. Your honour calls you hence;
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,
And all the gods go with you! Upon your sword
Sit laurel victory, and smooth success
Be strew’d before your feet!
Let us go. Come.
Our separation so abides and flies
That thou, residing here, goes yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee. Away!
(Aside to CELIA) I will speak to him like a saucy
lackey and under that habit play the knave with him.
Do you hear, forester?
Very well. What would you?
I pray you, what is’t o’clock?
You should ask me what time o’ day; there’s no clock
in the forest.
Then there is no true lover in the forest, else
sighing every minute and groaning every hour would
detect the lazy foot of Time, as well as a clock.
And why not the swift foot of Time? Had not that
been as proper?
By no means sir. Time travels in divers paces with
divers persons. I’ll tell you who Time ambles
withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops
withal and who he stands still withal.
I prithee, who doth he trot withal?
Marry he trots hard with a young maid, between the contract of her marriage and the day it is
solemnized. If the interim be but a se’nnight, Time’s pace is so hard that it seems the length of seven year.
Who ambles Time withal?
With a priest that lacks Latin, and a rich man that
hath not the gout, for the one sleeps easily because
he cannot study, and the other lives merrily because
he feels no pain; the one lacking the burden of lean
and wasteful learning, the other knowing no burden
of heavy tedious penury. These Time ambles withal.
Who doth he gallop withal?
With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as
softly as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.
Who stays it still withal?
With lawyers in the vacation; for they sleep between
term and term and then they perceive not how Time moves.
Where dwell you pretty youth?
With this shepherdess my sister; here in the
skirts of the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.
Are you native of this place?
As the cony that you see dwell where she is kindled.
Your accent is something finer than you could
purchase in so removed a dwelling.
I have been told so of many. But indeed, an old
religious uncle of mine taught me to speak, who was
in his youth an inland man, one that knew courtship
too well, for there he fell in love. I have heard
him read many lectures against it, and I thank God
I am not a woman, to be touched with so many
giddy offences as he hath generally taxed their
whole sex withal.
Can you remember any of the principal evils that he
laid to the charge of women?
There were none principal: they were all like one
another as half-pence are, every one fault seeming
monstrous till his fellow fault came to match it.
I prithee recount some of them.
No; I will not cast away my physic but on those that
are sick. There is a man haunts the forest that
abuses our young plants with carving ‘Rosalind’ on
their barks; hangs odes upon hawthorns and elegies
on brambles; all, forsooth, deifying the name of
Rosalind. If I could meet that fancy-monger, I would
give him some good counsel, for he seems to have the
quotidian of love upon him.
I am he that is so love-shaked. I pray you tell me
There is none of my uncle’s marks upon you. He
taught me how to know a man in love; in which cage
of rushes I am sure you are not prisoner.
What were his marks?
A lean cheek, which you have not; a blue eye and
sunken, which you have not; an unquestionable
spirit, which you have not; a beard neglected,
which you have not – but I pardon you for that, for
simply your having in beard is a younger brother’s
revenue. Then your hose should be ungartered, your
bonnet unbanded, your sleeve unbuttoned, your shoe
untied, and every thing about you demonstrating a
careless desolation. But you are no such man: you
are rather point-device in your accoutrements as
loving yourself than seeming the lover of any other.
Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.
Me believe it! you may as soon make her that you
love believe it, which I warrant she is apter to
do than to confess she does. That is one of the
points in the which women still give the lie to
their consciences. But in good sooth, are you he
that hangs the verses on the trees, wherein Rosalind
is so admired?
I swear to thee youth, by the white hand of
Rosalind, I am that he, that unfortunate he.
But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak?
Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.
Love is merely a madness, and I tell you, deserves
as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and
the reason why they are not so punished and cured
is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers
are in love too. Yet I profess curing it by counsel.
Did you ever cure any so?
Yes, one, and in this manner. He was to imagine me
his love, his mistress, and I set him every day to
woo me. At which time would I, being but a moonish
youth, grieve, be effeminate, changeable, longing
and liking, proud, fantastical, apish, shallow,
inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles, for every
passion something and for no passion truly any
thing, as boys and women are for the most part
cattle of this colour; would now like him, now loathe
him; then entertain him, then forswear him; now weep
for him, then spit at him; that I drave my suitor
from his mad humour of love to a living humour of
madness, which was, to forswear the full stream of
the world, and to live in a nook merely monastic.
And thus I cured him, and this way will I take upon
me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep’s
heart, that there shall not be one spot of love in’t.
I would not be cured, youth.
I would cure you, if you would but call me Rosalind
and come every day to my cote and woo me.
Now, by the faith of my love, I will. Tell me
where it is.
Go with me to it, and I’ll show it you; and by the way,
you shall tell me where in the forest you live.
Will you go?
With all my heart, good youth.
Nay, you must call me Rosalind. Come sister, will you go?
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die – to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause – there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.
Good my lord,
How does your honour for this many a day?
I humbly thank you, well.
My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to redeliver.
I pray you, now receive them.
No, not I.
I never gave you aught.
My honour’d lord, you know right well you did,
And with them words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.
Ha, ha! are you honest?
Are you fair?
What means your lordship?
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
admit no discourse to your beauty.
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it. I loved you not.
I was the more deceived.
Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest,
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
were better my mother had not borne me. I am very
proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at
my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
imagination to give them shape, or time to act them
in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves
all, believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
Where’s your father?
At home, my lord.
Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the
fool no where but in’s own house. Farewell.
O help him, you sweet heavens.
If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for
thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
nunnery, farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs
marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough
what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,
and quickly too. Farewell.
Heavenly powers, restore him!
I have heard of your paintings well enough. God
hath given you one face, and you make yourselves
another. You jig and amble, and you lisp, and
nickname God’s creatures, and make your wantonness
your ignorance. Go to, I’ll no more on’t, it hath
made me mad. I say we will have no more marriages.
Those that are married already, all but one, shall
live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a
O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword,
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck’d the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh,
That unmatch’d form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. O woe is me
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see.
Synopsis: A tumultuous scene between Hamlet and Ophelia starting with Hamlet’s well known soliloquy.
Brutus, my lord.
Portia, what mean you? Wherefore rise you now?
It is not for your health thus to commit
Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.
Nor for yours neither. You’ve ungently, Brutus,
Stole from my bed: and yesternight at supper
You suddenly arose, and walk’d about,
Musing, and sighing, with your arms across;
And when I ask’d you what the matter was
You stared upon me with ungentle looks.
I urged you further: then you scratch’d your head
And too impatiently stamp’d with your foot.
Yet I insisted, yet you answered not,
But with an angry wafture of your hand
Gave sign for me to leave you. So I did,
Fearing to strengthen that impatience
Which seemed too much enkindled, and withal
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;
And could it work so much upon your shape
As it hath much prevailed on your condition,
I should not know you Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
I am not well in health, and that is all.
Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,
He would embrace the means to come by it.
Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.
Is Brutus sick, and is it physical
To walk unbraced and suck up the humours
Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick?
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed
To dare the vile contagion of the night?
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus,
You have some sick offence within your mind
Which by the right and virtue of my place
I ought to know of: and upon my knees,
I charm you, by my once-commended beauty,
By all your vows of love and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy – and what men tonight
Have had to resort to you: for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.
Kneel not, gentle Portia.
I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself
But as it were in sort or limitation,
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus’ harlot, not his wife.
You are my true and honourable wife,
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.
If this were true, then should I know this secret.
I grant I am a woman; but withal
A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife.
I grant I am a woman: but withal
A woman well reputed, Cato’s daughter.
Think you I am no stronger than my sex
Being so fathered and so husbanded?
Tell me your counsels. I will not disclose ‘em.
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound,
Here in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience
And not my husband’s secrets?
O ye gods,
Render me worthy of this noble wife!
Hark, hark, one knocks. Portia, go in awhile;
And by and by thy bosom shall partake
The secrets of my heart.
All my engagements I will construe to thee,
All the charactery of my sad brows:
Leave me with haste.
Synopsis: Portia tries to uncover what is going on with Brutus her husband.
Location: Macbeth’s castle.
If it were done, when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips. He’s here in double trust:
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off;
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven’s Cherubins, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
And falls on the other.
Enter LADY MACBETH
How now! what news?
He has almost supp’d. Why have you left the chamber?
Hath he ask’d for me?
Know you not, he has?
We will proceed no further in this business:
He hath honour’d me of late; and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.
Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress’d yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would,’
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
What beast was’t then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man. Nor time, nor place,
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
If we should fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep
(Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey
Soundly invite him) his two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
Their drenched natures lie, as in a death,
What cannot you and I perform upon
The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?
Bring forth men-children only!
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy two
Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
That they have done’t?
Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
Upon his death?
I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
Location: Macbeth’s Castle
That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold:
What hath quench’d them hath given me fire.
It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it.
The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg’d
That Death and Nature do contend about them,
Whether they live, or die.
[Within] Who’s there? – what, ho!
Alack! I am afraid they have awak’d,
And ’tis not done: – the attempt and not the deed
Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss ‘em. Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done’t. My husband!
I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?
I heard the owl scream, and the crickets cry.
Did not you speak?
As I descended?
Who lies i’ th’ second chamber?
This is a sorry sight.
Looking on his hands
A foolish thought to say a sorry sight.
There’s one did laugh in’s sleep, and one cried
That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them;
But they did say their prayers, and address’d them
Again to sleep.
There are two lodg’d together.
One cried, ‘God bless us!’ and ‘Amen’ the other;
As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands.
Listening their fear, I could not say ‘Amen,’
When they did say ‘God bless us.’
Consider it not so deeply.
But wherefore could not I pronounce ‘Amen’?
I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’
Stuck in my throat.
These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.
Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep’, the innocent Sleep;
Sleep, that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast; –
What do you mean?
Still it cried, ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house:
‘Glamis hath murder’d Sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more!’
Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy Thane,
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of things. Go, get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: go carry them, and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
I’ll go no more:
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on’t again I dare not.
Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead,
Are but as pictures: ’tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
For it must seem their guilt.
Exit. Knocking within
Whence is that knocking?
How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
Re-enter LADY MACBETH
My hands are of your colour; but I shame
To wear a heart so white.
I hear a knocking
At the south entry: retire we to our chamber.
A little water clears us of this deed:
How easy is it then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended.
Hark! more knocking.
Get on your night-gown, lest occasion call us,
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.
To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.
Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst!
What hath quench’d them hath given me fire.
Synopsis: Angelo abuses his power and tries to coax Isabella into having sex with him in return for her brother’s life.
Synopsis: Isabella informs her brother Claudio that there is no hope for his survival. She tells him of Angelo’s disgraceful offer and Claudio, fearful for his life, tries to convince her to yield to Angelo’s demands to save his life.
Synopsis: Oberon and Titania are feuding over a changling child that Oberon wants for his train, but Titania has sworn to look after.
Synopsis: Helena has followed Demetirus into the forest. She is desperate for his love and Demetrius wants nothing to do with her. This is a fantastic scene which can be very physical and funny when performed.
Brief Overview: Beatrice, angry at the way Claudio has treated Hero (her cousin), persuades Benedick to take revenge and kill his good friend, Claudio.
Genre: Drama (though two very comical characters)
Exeunt all but BENEDICK and BEATRICE
Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
I will not desire that.
You have no reason, I do it freely.
Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.
Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!
Is there any way to show such friendship?
A very even way, but no such friend.
May a man do it?
It is a man’s office, but not yours.
I do love nothing in the world so well as you – is
not that strange?
As strange as the thing I know not. It were as
possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as
you, but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I
confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.
By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.
Do not swear, and eat it.
I will swear by it that you love me, and I will make
him eat it that says I love not you.
Will you not eat your word?
With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest
I love thee.
Why, then, God forgive me!
What offence, sweet Beatrice?
You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about to
protest I loved you.
And do it with all thy heart.
I love you with so much of my heart that none is
left to protest.
Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
Ha! not for the wide world!
You kill me to deny it. Farewell.
Tarry, sweet Beatrice.
I am gone, though I am here; there is no love in
you; nay I pray you let me go.
In faith, I will go.
We’ll be friends first.
You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.
Is Claudio thine enemy?
Is he not approved in the height a villain, that
hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O
that I were a man! What, bear her in hand until they
come to take hands, and then with public
accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour
- O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart
in the market-place.
Hear me, Beatrice -
Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying!
Nay, but Beatrice -
Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.
Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony,
a goodly count, Count Comfect; a sweet gallant
surely! O that I were a man for his sake, or that I
had any friend would be a man for my sake! But
manhood is melted into curtsies, valour into
compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and
trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules
that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a
man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.
Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.
Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?
Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul.
Enough! I am engaged, I will challenge him. I will
kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By this hand,
Claudio shall render me a dear account. As you
hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your
cousin; I must say she is dead: and so farewell.
Othello enters. Desdemona in her bed asleep.
It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul!
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars,
It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow
And smooth as monumental alabaster:
Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then put out the light!
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore
Should I repent me. But once put out thy light,
Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume: when I have plucked the rose
I cannot give it vital growth again,
It must needs wither. I’ll smell it on the tree;
O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more.
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after. One more, and this the last.
He smells, then kisses her
So sweet was ne’er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears: this sorrow’s heavenly,
It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.
Who’s there? Othello?
Will you come to bed, my lord?
Have you pray’d tonight, Desdemona?
Ay, my lord.
If you bethink yourself of any crime
Unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.
Alas, my lord, what do you mean by that?
Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by.
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit,
No, heaven forfend, I would not kill thy soul.
Talk you of killing?
Ay, I do.
Have mercy on me!
Amen, with all my heart.
If you say so, I hope you will not kill me.
And yet I fear you, for you are fatal then
When your eyes roll so. Why I should fear I know not,
Since guiltiness I know not. But yet I feel I fear.
Think on thy sins.
They are loves I bear to you.
Ay, and for that thou diest.
That death’s unnatural that kills for loving.
Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame,
These are portents: but yet I hope, I hope,
They do not point on me.
Peace, and be still!
I will so. What’s the matter?
That handkerchief which I so loved and gave thee,
Thou gavest to Cassio.
No, by my life and soul:
Send for the man, and ask him.
Sweet soul, take heed,
Take heed of perjury; thou art on thy deathbed.
I? – but not yet to die!
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin,
For to deny each article with oath
Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.
Then Lord have mercy on me.
I say amen.
And have you mercy too. I never did
Offend you in my life, never loved Cassio
But with such general warranty of heaven
As I might love: I never gave him token.
By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in’s hand!
O perjured woman, thou dost stone my heart
And makest me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice!
I saw the handkerchief.
He found it then,
I never gave it him. Send for him hither,
Let him confess a truth.
He hath confessed.
What, my lord?
That he hath – ud’s death! – used thee.
He will not say so.
No, his mouth is stopped. Honest Iago Hath ta’en order for’t.
O, my fear interprets! What, is he dead?
Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge
Had stomach for them all.
Alas, he is betrayed, and I undone.
Out, strumpet, weep’st thou for him to my face?
O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not!
Kill me tomorrow, let me live tonight!
Nay, if you strive–
But half an hour!
Being done, there is no pause–
But while I say one prayer!
It is too late.
O Lord! Lord! Lord!
He smothers her.
Stay, madam; I must talk a word with you.
I have no more sons of the royal blood
For thee to slaughter.
You have a daughter call’d Elizabeth,
Virtuous and fair.
And must she die for this?
She is of royal princess.
To save her life I’ll say she is not so.
Her life is only safest in her birth.
And only in that safety died her brothers.
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
Till that my nails were anchor’d in thine eyes.
I intend more good to you and yours
Than ever you or yours were by me wrong’d!
What good is cover’d with the face of heaven,
To be discover’d, that can do me good?
The advancement of your children, gentle lady.
Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?
No, to the dignity and height of honour
The high imperial type of this earth’s glory.
Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
With my soul I love thy daughter,
And do intend to make her queen of England.
Well then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?
Even he that makes her Queen. Who else should be?
Even so. How think you of it?
How canst thou woo her?
That would I learn of you,
As one being best acquainted with her humour.
And wilt thou learn of me?
Madam, with all my heart!
Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A pair of bleeding-hearts; thereon engrave
Edward and York; then haply she will weep:
If this inducement force her not to love,
Send her a letter of thy noble acts;
Tell her thou madest away her uncle Clarence,
Her uncle Rivers- ay, and for her sake,
Madest quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
You mock me, madam; this is not the way
To win our daughter.
There is no other way-
Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
And not be Richard that hath done all this.
Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
To make amends, I’ll give it to your daughter.
Prepare her ears to hear a wooer’s tale
And lead thy daughter to a conqueror’s bed.
What were I best to say? her Father’s brother
Would be her lord? Or shall I say her uncle?
Or he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
Under what title shall I woo for thee?
Tell her the King, that may command, entreats.
That at her hands, which the King’s King forbids.
Say I will love her everlastingly.
But how long shall that title ‘ever’ last?
Sweetly in force unto her fair life’s end.
But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?
As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
As long as hell and Richard likes of it.
Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
O no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.
Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
Harp on it still shall I, till heart-strings break.
Now, by my George, my Garter, and my crown,–
Profaned, dishonour’d, and the third usurp’d.
By nothing; for this is no oath:
If something thou wouldst swear to be believ’d,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong’d.
Now, by the world–
‘Tis full of thy foul wrongs..
Then, by myself–
Thyself is self-misus’d.
Why then, by God–
God’s wrong is most of all:
Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
What canst thou swear by now?
The time to come!
Swear not by time to come;
For I myself have many tears to wash
Hereafter time, for time past wrong’d by thee.
God and fortune, bar me happy hours!
Day, yield me not thy light, nor, night, thy rest!
Be opposite, all planets of good luck
To my proceedings if with dear heart’s love,
Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
I tender not thy beauteous, princely daughter!
In her consists my happiness and thine;
Without her, follows to myself, and thee
Herself, the land, and many a Christian soul,
Death, desolation, ruin and decay.
It cannot be avoided but by this;
It will not be avoided but by this.
Therefore, dear mother–I must call you so–
Be the attorney of my love to her;
Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
Not my deserts, but what I will deserve:
Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
Ay, if the devil tempt thee to do good.
Yet thou didst kill my children.
But in your daughter’s womb I bury them,
Where, in that nest of spicery, they shall breed
Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
And be a happy mother by the deed.
I go. Write to me very shortly.
And you shall understand from me her mind.
Bear her my true love’s kiss; and so, farewell.
Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!
Female/Female Shakespeare Scenes
Male/Male Shakespeare Scenes
Prince Hal, the future king of England talks about the future with the fat and hilarious Falstaff in this comical scene. It is difficult as it contains so many of the time references however it has a great energy and could be a lot of fun.
After over throwing Julius Caesar Brutus and Cassius fight over the killing of Lucius Pella.
In this early scene in the play Bassanio goes to Antonio and tries to get him to give him some money to help him woo Portia (his rich love). The scene offers some great text and is interesting to play as Antonio and Bassanio have a great friendship. There is a lot of potential subtext you can play under this scene. Does Antonio want Bassanio to get Portia?
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