English / William Shakespeareâ€™S Macbeth
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Autor: anton 21 May 2011
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William Shakespeareâ€™s Macbeth
In what you are about to read is a detailed description of every scene and every act of Macbeth.
The play begins upon a heath. Thunder and lighting rake the air. Three Witches ask themselves when they shall next meet, deciding that it will be "When the hurlyburly's done, / When the battle's lost and won". This will be later in the day at "the set of sun" upon a heath again where they will meet Macbeth. Together the Three Witches cry, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair: / Hover through the fog and filthy air" Macbeth is introduced to us as the brave man who led King Duncan's forces to victory against the traitorous Thane of Cawdor, Macdonwald and The King of Norway, in a battle that could have gone either way were it not for Macbeth's leadership. We learn that Macbeth killed Macdonwald himself in battle. King Duncan, overjoyed, decides to make Macbeth his new Thane of Cawdor. The previous Thane of Cawdor will be executed.
King Duncan, his sons Malcolm and Donalbain, and noblemen Lennox enter, meeting with a bleeding Sergeant. He speaks to the King of a battle between the King's forces and those of the traitorous Macdonwald.
Victory was not assured, but then Macbeth entered the fray, "For brave Macbeth,-well he deserves that name,- / Disdaining fortune [ignoring the dangers], with his brandish'd steel [with his sword]â€¦ carv'd out his passage [carved his way through the battle / entered the fight]" (Lines 16-20).
Later we learn that Macbeth killed Macdonwald himself, securing his head to the King's battlements: "he unseam'd [cut him open] him from nave to the chaps, / And fix'd his head upon our battlements" (Line 22).
The Norwegian Lord however began a fresh assault, the bleeding Sergeant explains, but Macbeth and Banquo met them: "they / Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe: [they redoubled their efforts against the enemy]" (Line 39).
The Sergeant finishes his report with praise: "They [Macbeth and Banquo] smack of honour both" (Line 45).
Nobleman Ross enters, announcing to the King and company that the King of Norway himself "With terrible numbers, / Assisted by that most disloyal traitor, / The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict;" (the King of Norway with huge numbers of men, helped by that traitorous Thane of Cawdor started a terrible battle), (Lines 52-54).
Only when Macbeth, described as the bridegroom of the goddess of war arrived, did the King's men emerge triumphant with the Norwegians now pleading for peace: "Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof, / Confronted him with self-comparisons," (Lines 55-56).
We learn of King Duncan's great pleasure. "Great happiness!" (Line 59), King Duncan says on hearing that his forces have defeated the King of Norway's and that the King of Norway's dead are to buried but not before the payment of ten thousand dollars for the King's general use or rather as part of the terms of peace the defeated Norwegians have made with King Duncan.
Duncan is no longer fooled by the Thane of Cawdor's treachery and instructs Ross to "pronounce his present death, / And with his former title greet Macbeth" (Line 66).
King Duncan explains that "What he [the last Thane of Cawdor's title] hath [has] lost noble Macbeth hath won" (the title that the Thane of Cawdor has lost, Macbeth has now won], (Lines 66-67). The Thane of Cawdor will be executed and Macbeth will now have the previous traitor's title. The Three Witches' establish their malicious nature before meeting Macbeth and Banquo. The Three Witches tell Macbeth that he will be "Thane of Glamis!", "Thane of Cawdor!" and "king hereafter", or become the King of Scotland. Banquo learns that his descendants shall be kings. Banquo is suspicious of the Three Witches, remembering that they often trick men. Macbeth initially agrees but when Ross and Angus tell him he has been made the new Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth in a very important aside (soliloquy), remarks, "Glamis and Thane of Cawdor: / The greatest is behind." Macbeth now first questions Banquo on his feelings about his descendants becoming kings and then starts to think of killing King Duncan to make prophecy fact but later hopes fate alone will spare him the need to kill. Again thunder foreshadows the Three Witches' appearance. The First Witch asks of the second's activities. We learn she has been busy "Killing swine" (Line 2). We learn a sailor's wife had chestnuts, which she denied the Second Witch. Together they resolve to punish the women's husband. "I'll drain him dry as hay: / Sleep shall neither night nor day" the First Witch threatens (Line 18).
We hear drums. Macbeth arrives. He is with his friend Banquo. Banquo is not sure the Three Witches are actually women: "Upon her skinny lips: you should be women, / And yet your beards forbid me to interpret / That you are so" (Line 45).
Macbeth asks them to speak if they can. The First Witch addresses Macbeth as "Thane of Glamis!" (Line 48). The Second Witch pronounces Macbeth as the "Thane of Cawdor!" (Line 49) and the Third Witch as "king hereafter [ever after] " (Line 50).
Banquo asks that his future be told. The Three Witches cryptically comply: "Lesser than King Macbeth, and greater" and "Not so happy, yet much happier" ending with the line, "Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:" (Lines 65 -67).
Macbeth demands to know more...
He is already Thane (Lord) of Glamis. But how can he be The Thane of Cawdor and later King when both titles are already taken? The Three Witches vanish.
Macbeth realizes that Banquo's children will be kings, and Banquo realizes that according to the Three Witches' prophecy Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor.
Ross and Angus arrive, informing Macbeth that he is indeed Thane of Cawdor. Banquo is amazed "What! can the devil speak true?" (What! Can the devil be trusted to tell the truth?), (Line 107).
Macbeth makes his first great soliloquy: "Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor: / The greatest is behind" (Line 115). Ross and Angus depart, leaving Macbeth and Banquo.
Macbeth darkly (and suspiciously) questions Banquo's ambitions: "Do you hope your children shall be kings, / When those [the witches] that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me / Promis'd no less to them?" (Lines 118-119).
Banquo like many of his time, fears the Three Witches: "The instruments of darkness tell us truths, / Win us with honest trifles [honest tidbits of information], to betray's / In deepest consequence. Cousins, a word, I pray you", (the instruments of darkness such as the Three Witches often tell us meaningless truths in order to later betray us most damagingly later), (Lines 124-127).
Macbeth is still confused by his good fortune: "This supernatural soliciting / Cannot be ill, cannot be good; if ill, / Why hath [has] it given me earnest of success, / Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor:" (this advise from the Three Witches cannot be evil but it cannot be good either. Why has it given me reason to believe it by predicting my new title?), (Lines 130-133).
In an important turning point for Macbeth, he now starts to have murderous thoughts:
If good, why do I yield [give in] to that suggestion [idea of murdering King Duncan] / Whose horrid image doth [does] unfix my hair [make me sick] / And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, / Against the use of nature? Present fears / Are less than horrible imaginings; / My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man that function / Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is / But what is not (Lines 135-141)
Macbeth hopes in an aside (private speech revealing Macbeth's thoughts to the audience) that fate not murder, may bring him his kingdom instead: "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, / Without my stir [without me doing anything about it]" (Line 143). Macbeth and Banquo resolve to see the King. Macbeth meets King Duncan, thanking him for his new title (The Thane of Cawdor). The also loyal Banquo receives nothing. King Duncan remarks how he completely trusted the previous Thane of Cawdor. King Duncan announces that his son, Malcolm will be the new Prince of Cumberland. Macbeth sees Malcolm as a threat to what he now takes seriously as his destiny to become King of Scotland, a major turning point in Macbeth's changing morality. Macbeth makes this clear by famously asking in an aside (private speech), for the stars to hide their fires least they reveal his dark and deadly purpose or intent to kill King Duncan.
King Duncan at his castle asks of the fate of the traitorous Thane of Cawdor. Malcolm explains that the previous Thane of Cawdor did confess his treason and that he died "As one that had been studied in his death / To throw away the dearest thing he ow'd, / As 'twere a careless trifle [as if his life was unimportant]" (Line 9).
Ominously and in view of Macbeth's future betrayal, ironically, Duncan exclaims one can't tell a person's character by their face adding that the previous Thane of Cawdor was a gentleman upon which the King "built / An absolute trust" (a man King Duncan trusted completely), (Line 13).
Next Macbeth, Banquo, Ross and Angus enter. Macbeth humbly explains in thanks that what he did for the King is nothing more than that of a loyal subject: "The service and the loyalty I owe, / In doing it, pays itself" (Line 22).
Banquo too is loyal but receives no title nor thanks. King Duncan announces that his son Malcolm is to be made the Prince of Cumberland.
In an aside (soliloquy), Macbeth ends the scene already plotting his way to kingdom: "The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step / On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap [leap over / remove], / For in my way it lies" (Line 48).
Macbeth already sees Duncan's son as an obstacle to his destiny. Ominously, Macbeth adds "Stars, hid your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires;" (Line 50).
Duncan will soon arrive at Macbeth's castle. Lady Macbeth learns by letter from Macbeth of the Three Witches' prophecies for her husband and eagerly embraces them as fact. Fearing Macbeth is too compassionate and weak-willed to do what needs to be done (killing King Duncan), she famously asks the gods to remove from her all signs of compassion and femininity, replacing them with cold remorseless ruthlessness.
Learning from a messenger that King Duncan will stay at their castle, she enthusiastically greets this news, suggesting that she already has plans to kill King Duncan. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth decide to speak again on the issue of the prophecies, Macbeth still uncertain of the need to kill King Duncan.
At Macbeth's castle we meet Lady Macbeth who is reading a letter. We learn that she knows of Macbeth's meeting with the Three Witches. Immediately, Lady Macbeth accepts the prophecy as fact.
No doubts like Banquo, Lady Macbeth enthusiatically says: "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be / What thou [you] art [were] promis'd" (Line 16).
She fears Macbeth is too good to seek what he is his by destiny: "Yet do I fear thy [Macbeth's] nature; / It is too full o' [of] the milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way [to do what needs to be done];" (Line 17).
Lady Macbeth wishes to use her powers of persuasion to prevent Macbeth denying them his destiny: "And chastise with the valour of my tongue / All that impedes thee from the golden round," (Line 28).
She learns from a messenger that King Duncan will soon arrive. Pleased, she immediately makes plans saying the messenger has announced or "croaks [announces] the fatal entrance of Duncan / Under my battlements into my castle]" (Line 40).
She famously calls upon the spirits to rid her of all her good: "Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe [head to toe]top full / Of direst cruelty: make thick my blood, / Stop up the access and passage to remorse," (Lines 41-45).
Macbeth arrives and Lady Macbeth already tells Macbeth to appear innocent like a flower but to be "the serpent under't" (Line 66). She advises him to entrust the evening to her care and exclaims that King Duncan will not see tomorrow. Macbeth says they will speak further on the issue. At Macbeth's castle King Duncan arrives whilst Lady Macbeth plays the most perfect of hostesses. Macbeth's castle seems to be a haven of snactuary, so much so that Banquo describes it as being almost heaven like in its peacefulness. King Duncan asks "Where's the Thane of Cawdor?" who is not yet present (Line 20). A guilt-ridden Macbeth wrestles with his conscience, certain that he should not kill King Duncan yet guiltily having to remind himself of all the reasons why it would be wrong. Macbeth decides against murdering his King but Lady Macbeth belittles him for not being able to murder, threatening to take away her love for him if he does not. This threat wins Macbeth over and Lady Macbeth outlines her plan to kill King Duncan in his sleep while he is a guest at their castle.
The scene begins with Macbeth in his castle. Macbeth is wrestling with his conscience. Can he kill a King who is in his trust as a guest in his home?
He's here in double trust: / First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, / Strong [strong reasons] both against the deed [killing King Duncan]; then, as his host, / Who should against his murderer shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself.
(King Duncan is here in double trust. First because I am his kinsman and a subject of his, I have two very good reasons not to murder my King. Then as his host I should be shutting the door on King Duncan's murderers not holding the knife against him myself), (Lines 12-14).
Additionally King Duncan has been so good a King that "his virtues / Will plead like angels trumpet-tongu'd against / The deep damnation of his taking-off [dying];" (Line 18-20). Furthermore, Macbeth argues that he has no reason to kill his king but to satisfy "Vaulting ambition, which o'er-leaps [overleaps] itself / And falls on the other.-"
Macbeth will not kill his King... Lady Macbeth enters and upon learning this, scolds him as being less than a man. Additionally Lady Macbeth makes an ultimatum: "From this time / Such I account thy love" (from now on or what you now do will I measure your love for me), (Line 38).
She argues that Macbeth was a man when he discussed this "enterprise" with her (Line 48). Finally she informs him that she would have "dash'd the brains out," (Line 57) of her own children had she "so sworn as you [Macbeth]" to the act of murdering King Duncan (Line 57).
Macbeth is worried of the consequences should they fail. Lady Macbeth outlines the plan to kill King Duncan in his sleep reassuring him that this will be easy.
Macbeth and wife will approach the sleeping King and perform their deed.
Afterwards, Lady Macbeth explains, the King's two guards will be smeared with blood implicating them: "Will it not be receiv'd, / When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two / Of his own chamber and us'd their very daggers, / That they have done't?" (will it not be believed that these two men who sleep with the King and will have been smeared with blood will be accused of murdering the King with their own daggers?), (Line 74).
Macbeth ends this scene, decided on the murderous task ahead of him: "False face must hide what false heart doth [does] know" (Line 82).
Banquo and son Fleance arrive at Macbeth's castle. Banquo is troubled by the Three Witches' prophecy and tells Macbeth this. Macbeth pretends not to take the Three Witches seriously. Learning from Banquo that King Duncan is asleep, Macbeth, alone, follows an imaginary dagger to King Duncan's bedchamber where he will kill him in his sleep...
Banquo and son Fleance are walking in the castle preceded by a servant bearing a torch. Fleance exclaims, "Hold [stop], take my sword. There's husbandry in heaven; / Their candles are all out" (Line 3). Fleance can't sleep, so troubled is he by his own thoughts: "A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, / And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers!" (Line 6).
Banquo suspects the presence of danger but can not say exactly what it is. Macbeth meets them and when the question "Who's there?" is asked, replies "A friend" (Lines 9-10).
Banquo is surprised Macbeth is not yet asleep and informs Macbeth that the King is asleep having been in "unusual pleasure," (been unusually happy), (Line 13). So pleased is the King with Lady Macbeth's hospitality that a diamond has been given to the generous host (Lady Macbeth).
Cryptically, Banquo mentions a dream he had of "the three weird sisters [The Three Witches]:" to Macbeth.
Macbeth replies that "I think not of them:" (Line 22). Macbeth does however want to discuss the Three Witches with Banquo in the future.
Macbeth now alone, sees a dagger, asking himself, "Is this a dagger which I see before me," which later sports "goats of blood," or becomes covered in blood before his eyes (Lines 32, 33 and 46).
He worries again and upon hearing a bell ring (Lady Macbeth's signal) proceeds towards King Duncan's chambers: "Hear it not [the bell], Duncan; for it is a knell [calling] / That summons thee [you, King Duncan] to heaven or to hell" (Line 63). Lady Macbeth has drugged King Duncan's guards, allowing Macbeth to kill King Duncan unchallenged. Lady Macbeth was to have killed the King but his resemblance to her late father means Macbeth does the deed instead. A bell frightens Lady Macbeth and Macbeth too is nervous, but he announces that he did indeed kill King Duncan.
Macbeth recounts that the two guards cried out "'Murder'" and later "'God bless us!'", Lady Macbeth telling her husband not to fret over such things and the fact that his conscience prevented him from saying "'Amen,'" when they said "'God bless us!'" Lady Macbeth tells her husband a little water will wash away their guilt and the two retire to their bedroom when knocking is later heard...
Lady Macbeth enters, remarking that the alcohol that has made the guards drunk has made her bold: "That which hath [has] made them drunk hath made me bold," (Line 1). She has drugged King Duncan's two guards. Macbeth enters and Lady Macbeth fears a bell which has sounded (Line 4) may have awakened the two guards without the murder having taken place.
We learn that Lady Macbeth was to have killed the King but the King's resemblance to her father stopped her. Macbeth announces that he has "done the deed" (Line 15) and asking if she heard, she replies only that she heard an owl scream and a cricket cry.
Macbeth was nervous and when two men in the adjoining room cried, "'Murder!'" and later "'God bless us!'" (Lines 24-30), Macbeth could not reply "'Amen,'" (Lines 30-32) as the other man did, variously interpreted as symbolic of the fact that Macbeth no longer sees himself as connected to God or on the side of good.
Macbeth thought he heard a voice say "'Sleep no more! / 'Macbeth does murder sleep,' the innocent sleep...", "'Glamis hath [has] murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor [Macbeth] / Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!'" (Lines 42-44).
Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth not to think such things and to get some water to wash away the blood.
Lady Macbeth scolds Macbeth for bringing the daggers with him, telling him to return them to the scene of the crime. He won't and scolding Macbeth as "Infirm of purpose!" (Line 54) or weak-willed, she returns the daggers smearing blood on the grooms faces to implicate them.
Macbeth wonders if water is enough to clear his conscience: "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?" (Line 61).
Both Macbeth and his wife hear knocking.
Lady Macbeth suggests that they retire to their chamber, saying "A little water clears us of this deed;" (Line 68). Macduff and Lennox, the source of the knocking in the last scene, arrive at Macbeth's castle. News of King Duncan's death reaches all at Macbeth's castle. Lady Macbeth faints and Macbeth in rage kills the two drunken guards after claiming that they obviously killed their King. These actions largely free Macbeth and Lady Macbeth from suspicion. King Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain are introduced, both men wisely deciding to flee Macbeth's castle as a precaution against their own murder. Malcolm will head for England, Donalbain for Ireland.
At the castle gates we hear knocking. The Porter attending the door exclaims that he is akin to the porter of hell and we soon learn that the earlier knocking was caused by the arrival of Macduff and Lennox, Macduff engaging the Porter in some insightful yet trivial banter (Lines 25-48).
Macduff and Lennox enter and are shortly greeted by Macbeth. Macduff asks of the King. Macbeth leads Macduff to the King's chambers.
Shortly afterwards, we hear from Macduff, "O horror! horror! horror! Tongue nor heart / Cannot conceive nor name thee!" (Line 70).
Macbeth asks what the problem is, and feigning surprise incredulously asks if the King's life is what he speaks of. Macbeth and Lennox awaken the rest of the castle.
Lady Macbeth asks what's going on, Banquo tells Lady Macbeth who later feints.
Macbeth says that had he died before this deed, he would have "liv'd [lived] a blessed time; for, from this instant, / There's nothing serious in mortality," (Lines 99-100).
Malcolm and Donalbain hear of their father's death from Banquo and Macbeth exclaims that he killed the two bridegrooms in his fury.
The two brothers wisely conclude that their lives are now in danger, Malcolm decides to head for England, Donalbain for Ireland.
Donalbain famously exclaims "There's daggers in men's smiles: the near in blood, / The nearer bloody" (Lines 146-147). Ross speaks with an Old Man who describes various unnatural acts happening in Scotland, perhaps the single most significant scene for the theme of nature at war with itself, which relates to the idea of a natural order being disturbed by killing a King, a prevalent theme throughout this play.
We learn that King Duncan's two sons have fled, leaving Macbeth to be crowned the new King of Scotland. Macduff, who later becomes instrumental in Macbeth's downfall, has significantly snubbed Macbeth's coronation at Scone to go instead to Fife. A tone of increasing despair for Scotland begins in this scene...
Ross speaks to an Old Man who discusses nature at war with itself.
The Old Man speaks of a falcon killed by an owl last Tuesday and Ross adds that King Duncan's horses "Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out," (Lines 14), the Old Man remarking that "'Tis [it is] said they eat each other" (Line 19).
Macduff arrives, commenting that King Duncan's two sons have run away "which puts upon them / Suspicion of the deed" (which puts on them the suspicion that they killed their father, King Duncan), (Line 26).
Ross does not accept this explanation; why would the two sons kill their own father whom he refers to as their "own life's means!" or someone they depend upon, adding that such an action is "'Gainst nature still!" or unnatural (Lines 29-31). Ross now remarks that the kingdom will most likely reside with Macbeth and tellingly, we learn that Macduff will head to Fife and not to Scone where Macbeth will be crowned King.
The Old Man ends Act II, remarking "That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!" (Line 41).
Banquo is fearful that the Three Witches' prophecies are coming true, questioning whether Macbeth played most foully for it, or killed King Duncan to make prophecy, fact. Meeting with Macbeth, Macbeth continuously asks Banquo of his travel plans and those of his son. Alone, Macbeth fears that Banquo's sons will mean his dynasty will be short-lived; only he will be King and not his sons who will be replaced by those of Banquo's lineage. Macbeth arranges for several murderers to discreetly kill Banquo and Fleance to ensure his sons and not Banquo's become future kings...
The scene begins with Banquo, alone, suspicious of Macbeth and the Three Witches' prophecy:
"Thou [you, Macbeth] hast [has] it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, / As the weird women promis'd; and, I fear, / Thou [Macbeth] play'dst [played] most foully for't [for it];" (Line 1).
Banquo wonders about the prophecies made to him: "But that myself should be the root and father / Of many kingsâ€¦ May they not be my oracles as well, / And set me up in hope? But, hush! no more" (Lines 5-10).
Macbeth invites Banquo to a feast at his castle and obliquely (indirectly) asks his plans for the evening. "Ride you this afternoon?" (Line 19) Macbeth ominously asks. Macbeth tells us that "our bloody cousins are bestow'd / In England and Ireland, not confessing / Their cruel parricide [murdering a father, King Duncan]," (Line 30). This is a reference to King Duncan's two sons being in hiding.
Macbeth asks again of Banquo's travel plans, specifically for his son: "Goes Fleance with you?" (Line 35). Macbeth is now alone with an Attendant. He asks of some men. We learn they are presently waiting outside the palace gate. "Bring them before us" Macbeth commands. (Line 47).
Macbeth now alone, reveals his innermost thoughts in another aside: "Our fears in Banquo / Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature / Reigns that which would be fear'd: 'tis much he dares... Whose being I do fear; and under him / My genius is rebuk'd, as it is said / Mark Antony's was by Caesar" (Lines 49-55).
Macbeth goes on to remark that the Three Witches have "plac'd a fruitless crown, / And put a barren sceptre" (Line 61) in Macbeth's possession. Without a line of kings following Macbeth's line, he fears that being King of Scotland is a farce and in Banquo, Macbeth sees the person stopping his own lineage of kings.
Macbeth is interrupted by the murderers whom he instructs to kill Banquo and son Fleance. He explains to them that their problems are the result of Banquo. Taunting them, he asks them if they are happy to let the source of their pain off so easily. They reply that they are "men," (Line 91).
Macbeth tells the men to do their deed covertly (secretly) to protect Macbeth's reputation. The scene ends with Macbeth resolute of his next murder: "It is concluded [decided]: Banquo, thy [your] soul's flight, If it find heaven, must find it out to-night" (Banquo, you will die tonight to find out if your soul will go to heaven or not tonight), (Line 141). Lady Macbeth and Macbeth speak in private. Macbeth is again plagued by a guilt we thought may have vanished: "We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it..." (Line 13). Lady Macbeth attempts to strengthen Macbeth's resolve. The Three Murderers kill Banquo but his son Fleance escapes and survives. The Three Witches' prophecy of Banquo's sons becoming kings has not been thwarted by Macbeth...
The Third Murderer joins the previous two we know of. When asked who sent him, the Third replies "Macbeth" (Line 2). The Second tells the Third not to distrust Macbeth, he delivers and can be trusted. The Third hears horses.
The Third Murderer adds Banquo's horses have stopped some way from the castle; it is common practice to walk to the castle itself. Banquo and Fleance approach the murderers by torch.
The Three Murderers set upon Banquo. Banquo cries "O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! " (O, treachery! Run Fleance, run, run, run!), (Line 17). Banquo dies, Fleance escapes. The Three Murderers notice this and decide to report "how much is done" (Line 21). Macbeth and a lady are entertaining at their castle. The First Murderer arrives, announcing that Banquo is dead but Fleance has lived. Macbeth immediately realizes the consequences of this (his descendants may not become kings). Macbeth sees Banquo's Ghost at his party, causing Lady Macbeth to finish their party early to prevent further suspicions about Macbeth's sanity and about their role in recent events (King Duncan's death whilst a guest at their castle). Macbeth makes his famous quote about being too covered in blood to stop...
A banquet is prepared attended by Macbeth, his lady, Ross, Lennox, Lords and some Attendants. Macbeth intends to play host: "Ourself will mingle with society / And play the humble host " (Line 4). Lady Macbeth echoes this sentiment: "Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends; / For my heart speaks they are welcome" (Line 7).
The First Murderer enters, informing Macbeth of the deed. He informs Macbeth that "Fleance is 'scaped " (Fleance escaped), (Line 20). Macbeth asks about Banquo to which the First Murderer replies that Banquo is safe: "Ay, my good lord; safe in a ditch he bides, / With twenty trenched gashes on his head; " (Line 24).
Macbeth is all too aware of the consequences of Fleance's escape: "There the grown serpent lies: the worm that's fled / Hath [has] nature that in time will venom breed," (Fleance the worm that escaped will in time breed a venom or line of kings Macbeth was hoping to prevent), (Line 29).
Macbeth whilst eating, is haunted by the Ghost of Banquo. Macbeth's talking to himself begins to unsettle Lady Macbeth. She fears Macbeth may say something suspicious and so she ends the feast early (Line 122).
Macbeth now reveals that he knows Macduff's movements; "I keep a servant fee'd" (Line 132) or has spies to keep him informed of his enemies. Macbeth, still shaken by Banquo's Ghost resolves to see the Three Witches or "the weird sisters:" tomorrow, since Macbeth is eager for reassurance and to know more of his destiny.
Macbeth now famously utters his expression that he has killed so many and is so covered in blood that he can now metaphorically speaking, no longer turn back and seek salvation:
I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er"
(Literal translation: I am in blood so deeply stepped that even if I waded or walked no more, returning would be as tedious or as time consuming and difficult as going over or returning), (Line 136).
Says Lady Macbeth, "You lack the season of all natures, sleep" (Line 141). Hecate, clearly in a position of command over the Three Witches, scolds her subordinates for helping an unappreciative Macbeth. Hecate instructs the Three Witches to make preparations for her plan to use illusion and the Three Witches' prophecies against Macbeth. The Three Witches, eager to placate their master, eagerly make preparations, doing as they are told...
Again to the prelude of thunder we see the Three Witches. They meet with Hecate, which has been interpreted as the Lord of the Witches but whose exact relationship to the Three Witches is never made explicit. All that we do know is that the Three Witches fear and respect Hecate, doing as she instructs them.
Hecate is angry with her charges. They have meddled with Macbeth without her consultation. She mocks them for helping a man who "Loves for his own ends, not for you" (loves or cares only about himself, not the Three Witches), (Line 13).
Hecate tells the Three Witches too "make amends now:" telling them to leave and meet her "at the pit of Acheron", the name for Hell's river the next morning (Lines 12-16).
By the end of the scene Hecate gains the Three Witches' support for her plan. Her plan is to use illusion to "draw him [Macbeth] on to his confusion:" (Line 29).
Macbeth will then "spurn [ignore] fate, scorn death, and bear / His hopes 'bove [above] wisdom, grace, and fear; / And you all know security / Is mortals' chiefest enemy" (ignore fate, mock or scorn death, become arrogant, take his own opinions above wisdom, grace and fear and you all know that complacency or false security is a person's worst enemy), (Line 30).
The scene ends with the First Witch suggesting haste with their preparations. After all Hecate will "soon be back again" (Line 37). We see Lennox and a Lord discuss affairs in their kingdom. Lennox points out that all those who have sided with Macbeth, namely the late King Duncan, "the right-valiant Banquo" (Line 5) have paid dearly for this decision. Lennox slyly suggests that Fleance may be responsible for Banquo's death since he fled afterwards but we quickly realize this is Lennox's way of finding out the Lord's allegiances.
Lennox discusses how terrible it was that Donalbain and Malcolm killed their father King Duncan. Macbeth certainly did grieve... He adds that should Fleance, Donalbain and Malcolm be captured that they would certainly suffer but now Lennox realizing just how dangerous his skeptical words of Macbeth are, changes the subject by asking of Macduff.
We learn from the Lord who now makes his disgust of Macbeth quite clear that an army is being formed in England to fight Macbeth. "The son of Duncan" Malcolm is now at the English court and has been well received by the "most pious Edward" (Line 27). We finally learn that Macbeth knows this and is preparing for possible war. Macduff may be in great danger.
A major turning point in the play. Just as the Three Witches' prophesied Macbeth's ascendancy to become King in Act I, Scene III, here they prophesies his doom with Three Apparitions (visions / ghosts).
The First Apparition tells an eager Macbeth that he should fear Macduff, saying "beware Macduff; / Beware the Thane of Fife...." The Second Apparition reassures Macbeth that "none of women born / Shall harm Macbeth" and the Third Apparition tells Macbeth he has nothing to fear until "Great Birnam wood" moves to "high Dunsinane hill" near his castle.
Macbeth decides to kill Macduff to protect himself and takes the prophecies to mean he is safe from all men since they are all born naturally and that only the moving of a nearby forest to his castle, an unlikely event will spell his doom.
Next Macbeth demands to know about Banquo's descendants, learning to his anger that they will still rule Scotland rather than Macbeth's descendants. Macbeth learns that he cannot kill Macduff so instead has his entire family murdered...
The Three Witches add various ingredients to a brew in a cauldron. Together the Three Witches chant: "Double, double, toil and trouble; / Fire burn and cauldron bubble" (Lines 10 -12). The Second Witch adds: "Fillet and fenny snake, / In the cauldron boil and bake;" (Line 13). Hecate enters, congratulating the Three Witches on their good work.
Macbeth arrives, rudely demanding to know his fate: "How now, you secret, black, and mid-night hags!" (Line 48).
Macbeth doesn't care about the consequences of his inquires: "Even till destruction sicken; answer me / To what I ask you" (Line 60).
The Three Witches are more than willing and forthcoming to answer Macbeth, the First Witch telling Macbeth to "Speak" the Second Witch telling Macbeth to "Demand" and the Third Witch assuring Macbeth that "We'll answer" (Lines 62, 63-64).
When offered the option of hearing from the Three Witches' masters, Macbeth eagerly agrees: "Call 'em: let me see 'em" (Line 63).
Three Apparitions (ghosts / visions) follow one at a time.
The First Apparition is of an armed head. It tells Macbeth to fear Macduff: "Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; / Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough" (Lines 71-72). Macbeth however will not let the First Apparition leave, but it leaves nonetheless.
The Second Apparition arrives, replacing the First Apparition â€¦ This is in the form of a "bloody Child."
It advises Macbeth to "Be bloody, bold and resolute; laugh to scorn / The power of man, for none of women born / Shall harm Macbeth" (be bloody, bold and decisive. Laugh at the power of man since no man of natural birth shall ever harm Macbeth), (Line 79).
Macbeth decides to kill Macduff anyway to be "double sure, / And take a bond of fate:" (to be on the safe side), (Line 83).
The Third Apparition is of a "Child crowned, with a tree in his hand." It tells Macbeth to "Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care / Who chafes, who fretsâ€¦ until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill / Shall come against him" (be strong like a Lion, proud and do not care who chafes or resists or conspires against you until Great Birnam wood, a nearby forest moves to Dunsinane Hill) comes toward him (Line 90).
Macbeth is relieved since he has nothing to fear until a forest nearby, decides to move upon Macbeth's castle at Dunsinane hill, an event Macbeth quite naturally considers quite unlikely if not impossible; woods don't move nor walk...
Macbeth wants to know more and so asks one last question: "shall Banquo's issue [children] ever / Reign in this kingdom?" (Line 102). The Three Witches tell him to "Seek to know no more" (do not ask), (Line 103).
Arrogantly Macbeth replies, "deny me this, / And an eternal curse fall on you!" (Line 104). The Three Witches oblige, showing Macbeth a show of kings, eight in fact, the last with a glass in his hand, Banquo's Ghost following.
Macbeth is not pleased to see this: "Thou art to like the spirit of Banquo; down!" (you look too much like Banquo; down!), "Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs:" (Your crown hurts my eyes), (Line 112).
Macbeth now insults these kings (Lines 113-122) describing them all as a "Horrible sight!" (Line 122).
The Three Witches leave followed by Hecate, and Lennox enters. Macbeth interrogates Lennox on whether he saw the Three Witches; he answers that he did not. We learn from Lennox that Macduff "is fled to England" (has run off to England), (Line 142).
Macbeth decides that "from this moment / The very firstlings of my heart shall be / The firstlings of my hand" (Line 146). He will surprise Macduff's castle or "Seize upon Fife;" (Line 151) and "give to the edge of the sword / His [Macduff's] wife, his babes [children], and all unfortunate souls / That trace him in his line [those that follow Macduff]" (Line 151).
Since Macbeth cannot kill Macduff, he will destroy all vestiges (traces) of him instead. Lady Macduff is greeted by Ross, Lady Macduff expressing her anger at being abandoned by Macduff for little reason when in her eyes, Macduff has done nothing requiring him to flee. Ross leaves and after Lady Macduff tells her son that his father is dead and a traitor, a Messenger warns Lady Macduff to flee but Macbeth's murderers succeed in killing her son. The scene ends with Lady Macduff fleeing for her life...
We find Macduff's family alone, serene and as the audience is all too aware, in mortal danger. Lady Macduff is not happy despite the advice of Ross to have patience, Lady Macduff explaining that "His [Macduff's] flight [escape] was madness: when our actions do not, / Our fears do make us traitors" (Line 3).
Lady Macduff laments that her husband "Loves us not;" (Line 8)
Ross leaves and Lady Macduff speaks with her son.
Lady Macduff tells her son that his father, Macduff is "dead:" wondering how her son will now fend for himself without a father? The son replies that he will live "As birds do, mother", Lady Macduff wondering if this means her son will feed on worms and flies and laments that this will be the future for her child (Line 31).
She explains to her son that his father was a traitor explaining that a traitor is one who "swears and lies" (Line 47).
The son defends Macduff's name when a Messenger arrives warning them all to "Be not found here;" (Do not be here), (Line 66). The Messenger leaves daring not to stay a moment longer (Line 70).
Lady Macduff though warned to flee, says that she has "done no harm" (done nothing wrong), (Line 72).
The Murderers arrive, Lady Macduff refusing to tell them Macduff's whereabouts. The Murderers call Macduff a "traitor" (Line 80).
Macduff's son calls the Murderers liars and is then stabbed exclaiming "He has killed me, mother: / Run away I pray you!" (Line 84). The scene ends with Lady Macduff being pursued by the Murderers. Malcolm and Macduff discuss how Scotland under Macbeth's rule has been plunged into despair. Malcolm tests Macduff's integrity by describing himself as unfit to rule. After Malcolm disgusts Macduff with increasingly sordid descriptions of his lust and greed, Macduff tells Malcolm he is not fit to rule. This delights Malcolm who explains that he was lying; he described himself so negatively to test Macduff's integrity. We learn that a large army is gathering to defeat Macbeth.
Malcolm and Macduff speak of the sad fate of Scotland, Malcolm suggesting that they should "Weep our sad bosoms empty" at the fate of their Scotland (Line 1).
Malcolm evokes Macbeth's name as evil: "This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues, / Was once thought honest: you have lov'd him well;" (Line 12) whilst Macduff expresses his despair for Scotland by saying "I have lost my hopes" (Line 24).
Malcolm asks Macduff why he left his family: "Why in that rawness left your wife and child- / Those precious motives, those strong knots of love- / Without leave-taking?" (Line 26).
Macduff replies "Bleed, bleed, poor country! Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure, / For goodness dares not cheek thee!" (Line 31).
Malcolm also fears for Scotland:
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke; / It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash / Is added to her wounds... And here from gracious England have I offer / Of goodly thousands: but, for all this, / When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head, / Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country / Shall have more vices [problems] than it had before, / More suffer [suffering], and more sundry ways than ever, / By him that shall succeed.
(Our country Scotland suffers a new wound each day. Here in England I fortunately have the help of thousands of men on offer to help reclaim Scotland yet even when I have stepped on Macbeth's head or carried it on my sword my country will have more problems and more suffering for the man who then leads it than before), (Lines 39-49)
Macduff is surprised by this last sentence. Under whom could Scotland suffer more than Macbeth? Malcolm replies "It is myself I mean;" (Line 51).
From this point, Malcolm describes himself in ever greater terms of evil, Malcolm advising Macduff to "Esteem [judge] him [Macbeth] as a lamb," compared to him (Line 54).
Malcolm declares that he is voluptuous, liking scores of women, greedy, and lacks all of "the king-becoming graces," that he should have (Line 91).
After hearing all this Macduff tells Malcolm he is not only not fit to govern but unfit to live as well: "Fit to govern! No, not to live" (Line 102).
Malcolm is pleased that Macduff has the integrity to say this. He explains that his descriptions were a lie adding that he is in fact a virgin or "Unknown to woman," and that "my first false speaking / Was this upon myself" (Line 130) or that Malcolm was earlier not telling the truth, and that "Old Siward, with ten thousand war-like men, / Already at a point," (Line 134) are setting forth for Scotland but now that Malcolm knows Macduff to be honorable, they will set forth together.
Macduff is a little confused: "'Tis hard to reconcile" (this is hard to fathom), (Line 138).
A Doctor speaks with Malcolm discussing an illness (Lines 140-145) later described by Malcolm as evil. Malcolm confirms the Doctor's early statements that the King of England merely by his presence (150-155), appears to cure the sick, Malcolm describing The King of England's effect on the sick as a "strange virtue," (Line 156).
Ross arrives but Malcolm does not know him, saying of him, "My countryman; but yet I know him not" (Line 160).
Ross tells them more about Scotland:
Alas! Poor country; / Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot / Be call'd our mother, but our grave; where nothing, / But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile; / Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rent [fill] the air / Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems / A modern ecstasy.... (Lines 164-170)
We learn after some delay from Ross that Macduff's family have been murdered (Line 204).
Malcolm is distraught, "Merciful heaven! What! man; ne'er [never] pull your hat upon your brows; / Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak / Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break" (Lines 206-208).
Macduff asks of his children: "My children too?" (Line 210). Ross replies "Wife, children, servants, all / That could be found" (Line 211).
Malcolm, acting very much like a King should, leading and lifting his men's spirits, suggests Macduff use his sorrow to productive use: "Be comforted: / Let's make us medicine of our great revenge, / To cure this deadly grief" (Line 214).
Macduff points out however that whatever he does to Macbeth, "He [Macbeth] has no children" so Macduff's revenge can never be total; Macbeth will never suffer the loss of losing a child or in Macduff's case, children (Line 216).
Still in shock, Macduff asks "What! all my pretty chickens and their dam / At one fell swoop? (Line 216), (have I lost them all) to which Malcolm replies, "Dispute it like a man" (Line 219).
Macduff swears revenge: "But, gentle heavens, / Cut short all intermission; front to front / Bring thou this fiend of Scotland [Macbeth] and myself; / Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape, / Heaven forgive him too!" (but gentle heavens, do not take waste any more time. Bring Macbeth within a sword's length of me and if he escapes, heaven forgive him too!), (Lines 230-234).
Malcolm ends the scene on a dark note, remarking: "The night is long that never finds the day" (Line 238).
Lady Macbeth's insanity becomes clear... First her doctor and a nurse discuss Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking and talking to herself and then we, the audience see this for ourselves. Lady Macbeth makes her famous speech that she cannot wipe away the blood on her hands, indicating her battle to suppress her guilty conscience has failed completely.
This scene begins with a Doctor conversing with a Waiting-Gentle-woman (nurse). We learn that Lady Macbeth has been sleepwalking, uttering words the Gentlewomen is reluctant to discuss with the Doctor.
Lady Macbeth enters and we see her sleepwalking for ourselves. She is rubbing her hands and we learn this can go on for a quarter of an hour.
Lady Macbeth is distressed, famously saying: "Out, damned spot! out, I say! One; two: why, then, 'tis [it is] time to do't [do it]. Hell is murky!" (Line 38).
Lady Macbeth refers to her counterpart, Lady Macduff: "The Thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now? What! Will these hands ne'er [never] be clean? No more o'[of] that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with this starting" (Line 46).
She laments the permanency of her disturbance, "Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!" (Line 55). The Doctor explains that "This disease is beyond my practice:" (this disease is beyond my abilities), (Line 64).
Lady Macbeth continues her sleep talking echoing earlier events, "To bed, to bed: there's knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed" (Line 72). Macbeth's enemies gather near his castle at Dunsinane as Macbeth strongly fortifies its defenses. We learn that Macbeth's hold on Scotland is less than absolute...
Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lennox and Soldiers are all gathered near Macbeth's castle at Dunsinane hill. Menteith explains that "The English power is near, led on by Malcolm, / His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff" (Line 1).
We learn that "Revenges burn in them;" (Line 3). Menteith has little love for Macbeth, asking "What does the tyrant?" We learn from Caithness that "Great Dunsinane he [Macbeth] strongly fortifies. Some say he's mad; others that lesser hate him / Do call it valiant fury; but, for certain, / He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause / Within the belt of rule" (Line 12).
We discover from Angus that Macbeth's title, far from be secure, is said to "Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe / Upon a dwarfish thief" (Line 22). Macbeth is clearly being described metaphorically as a man in borrowed robes too large for him like the rule of Scotland. Macbeth prepares to defiantly fight his enemies armed with the prophecy that he will only be defeated when the nearby "Birnam wood" moves on his castle. Macbeth learns of the ten thousand strong army against him. Seyton confirms this bad news and Macbeth donning his armor, prepares to fight his enemies recalling the "Birnam wood" prophecy once more as a source of comfort...
Macbeth is receiving reports of the English army; he is not concerned and seeks solace in the prophecy, saying "Bring me no more reports; let them fly all: Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane / I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm? Was he not born of women?" (Line 1).
A Servant informs Macbeth that the army numbers ten thousand. Macbeth doesn't believe it asking if he means ten thousand "Geese, villain?" (Line 14).
Learning from the Servant that there are ten thousand soldiers against him, Macbeth resigns himself to his fate, "As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, / I must look to have; but, in their stead, / Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, / Which poor heart would fain deny, and dare not" (Line 25).
Seyton confirms the reports and Macbeth instructs him to "Hang those that talk of fear: Give me mine [my] armour" (Line 36). The Doctor enters and we learn from him that "therein the patient [Lady Macbeth] / Must minister to himself " though strictly speaking the Doctor should have said "herself" (Line 45).
Macbeth appeals to the Doctor to try and help his wife and Macbeth ends this scene exclaiming, "I will not be afraid of death and bane / Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane" (Line 60). With his troops loyally around him, Malcolm orders each man to cut down a branch from the nearby Birnam Wood as his army now camouflaged under an umbrella of "Birnam wood", heads towards Macbeth's castle at Dunsinane.
Again with drum and colours, we see Malcolm, Old Siward and son, Macduff, Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lennox, Ross and Soldiers marching. Malcolm rallies his troops, "Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand / That chambers will be safe" (Line 1). The men supportive of Malcolm, reply, "We doubt it nothing" (Line 2).
Malcolm instructs every soldier to now "hew him down a bough / And bear't before him: thereby shall we shadow / The numbers of our host, and make discovery / Err in report of us" (cut down some wood or leafy branches and carry it so we will hide our true numbers from the enemy and when discovered cause them to make mistakes in reporting us), (Line 5).
The scene ends with troops marching toward Dunsinane where Siward announces "We learn no other but the confident tyrant / Keeps still in Dunsinane," (we have heard nothing but that the tyrant Macbeth remains still in his castle at Dunsinane), (Line 9).
We also learn from Malcolm that those still fighting on Macbeth's side are merely "constrained things [people] / Whose hearts are absent too" or whose hearts are not in defending Macbeth but rather defend the tyrant under pressure, not devotion (Line 14). Macbeth laughs off his enemies' numbers, certain of the "Birnam wood" prophecy and equally certain that his fortifications should laugh off any attack. We hear a women's cry later learning that Lady Macbeth is dead. Macbeth coldly shrugs off the news that his once "dearest chuck," is dead with complete apathy. Macbeth learns that Birnam Wood or rather Malcolm's forces are moving on his castle. Realizing what this means, Macbeth nonetheless defiantly sets off to meet his destiny...
Macbeth and Seyton enter with colours or flags flying. Macbeth instructs Seyton to hang banners on the outside walls, confident that he can outlast any siege since, "Our castle's strength / Will laugh a siege to scorn; here let them lie / Till famine and the ague eat them up;" (Line 2).
We hear a cry of a woman. Macbeth asks what it is to which Seyton replies, "It is the cry of women, my good lord" (Line 8).
Macbeth answers that he has "almost forgot the taste of fears", adding "I have supp'd full [eaten full / I am full ] with horrors; / Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, / Cannot once start me" (Lines 9-14).
Seyton returns, telling Macbeth "The queen, my lord, is dead" (Line 16).
Macbeth coldly replies that "She should have died hereafter; / There would have been a time for such a word" (Line 18).
Macbeth famously bids his wife farewell and likening life to an actor on stage, describes life as a fleeting experience signifying nothing:frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more; it is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing. (Line 23)
A Messenger reports that he saw the wood begin to move. Macbeth, enraged at this apparent impossibility replies, "If thou speak'st false, / Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive, / Till famine cling thee;" (if you are lying, upon the next tree will you hang alive until famine kills you), (Line 40).
Macbeth repeats the Birnam wood prophecy; sees this very fact and panics, "Arm, arm, and out!" (Line 46), "Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack! At least we'll die with harness on our back" (Line 52). Malcolm's men drop their leafy camouflage and the battle begins...
Malcolm and company are near Macbeth's castle. Malcolm instructs his men to drop their "leavy screens... And show like those you are [reveal yourselves for the soldiers you are]" (Line 1).
Malcolm tells his men where they shall attack, "You worthy uncle, / Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son, / Lead our first battle;" (Line 2).
Macduff ends the scene on a note of optimism: "Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath, / Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death" (Line 9). Macbeth fights, Siward killing him. Macbeth is now confronted by Macduff, a man he has consciously avoided and one he refuses to fight. Macbeth famously exclaims that he has lived a charmed life and is unable to be killed by a man, naturally born. Macduff now explains that he has born by Caesarian section and the two men fight, Macbeth dying and order being restored when Malcolm is hailed as the new King of Scotland.
Macbeth can no longer run, "They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly [escape / run], / But bear-like I must fight the course. What's he / That was not born of women? Such a one / Am I to fear, or none" (Malcolm and his troops have surrounded me or tied me to a stake. I cannot escape but like a bear must fight my enemies. But who is not born by a woman. Only such a person should I fear), (Line 1).
Siward enters and asks who Macbeth is. Upon learning the fact he replies, "The devil himself could not pronounce [say] a title / More hateful to mine [my] ear" (Line 8).
Macbeth responds "No, nor more fearful" (Line 9).
Macbeth kills Young Siward. Encouraged by his triumph, Macbeth gloats: "Thou wast born of women: / But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, / Brandish'd by man that's of a women born" (you were born from a woman. But swords I smile at, weapons I laugh at in scorn carried by men who are woman born), (Line 11).
Macduff enters, exclaiming that "My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still" (Line 16). Malcolm and Old Siward begin to enter the Macbeth's castle (Line 24).
Macbeth reenters and finally as prophecy warned, Macduff and Macbeth meet. "Turn, hell-hound, turn!" Macduff shouts at Macbeth (Line 32).
Macbeth and Macduff exchange threats; Macbeth explaining that "I bear a charmed life, which must not yield / To one of women born" (I live a lucky or charmed life which cannot yield or fall to one born from a woman), (Line 41).
Macduff explains to Macbeth that he may "Despair thy charm;" (despair at his charm), (Line 42) since Macduff was "from his mother's womb / Untimely ripp'd" (born of Caesarian section or untimely ripped from his mother thus not being naturally born), (Line 44).
Macbeth, worried says that "I'll not fight with thee" (I will not fight with you), (Line 51). Macduff argues otherwise telling him to surrender so that he may be placed on a pole as an illustration of a tyrant.
Macduff explains that Macbeth's near future will involve his head being "Painted [planted] upon a pole, and underwrit," or written underneath will be the lines, "'Here may you see the tyrant [Macbeth].'" The two men fight.
With colours, Malcolm, Old Siward, Ross and Thanes and Soldiers reenter and we learn "Macduff is missing," (Line 67). Old Siward learns that he lost his son proudly exclaiming though sad, "God's soldier be he!" (Line 76). Macduff returns with Macbeth's head. All hail Malcolm as the new King of Scotland.
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