Macbeth: Act 5 Summary

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

Scene I A doctor and gentlewoman are at the castle watching Lady MacBeth because she has been sleeping walking. When Lady MacBeth enters the scene she washes her hands saying there is blood on them and refers to the murders: Duncan, Banquo, and Lady MacDuff. Once she leaves the doctor looks stunned at such behavior.

Scene II A group of Scottish lords gather together to discuss the military situation. It is decided that the Scottish army will meet the English army led by Malcolm by Birnam Wood to join forces together.

It is also reported that MacBeth has fortified Dunsinane Castle.

Scene III MacBeth tells his attendants they have nothing to fear of the army approaching them because no one of woman born can harm him. MacBeth also refers to the second apparition and says he will reign until Birnam Wood is moved to Dunsinane. Next, MacBeth orders Seyton to retrieve his armor so he can do what he does best, fight on the battlefield.

The doctor reports to MacBeth about Lady MacBeth’s condition. MacBeth demands that the doctor rid her of the disease and cure her.

Scene IV While marching toward Dunsinane, Malcolm orders his soldiers to break a branch off of a tree in Birnam Wood hope to, “Thereby shall we shadow / The numbers of our host,” and make MacBeth’s spies, “Err in report of us,” (5.4.5-7).

Scene V Seyton comes to tell MacBeth that the queen has died. Shocked by the abrupt end of his wife, MacBeth makes a compelling spiel. The messenger enters telling MacBeth that the forest of Birnam Wood is moving towards them, Dunsinane. MacBeth is overcame by disbelief and horror that the apparition’s prophecy may come true which said that he couldn’t die until Birnam Wood moved towards Dunsinane.

Scene VI Malcolm orders his soldiers to throw down the branches and reveal to MacBeth’s castle who they really are.

Scene VII MacBeth kills the Young Siward and makes fun of the soldiers who are born from a woman because their swords can not kill him. Malcolm makes a comment about MacBeth’s soldiers saying, “We have met with foes / That strike beside us,” because they aren’t even trying to fight (5.7.31-2).

Scene VIII The castle is surrounded by Malcolm and Siward’s men. MacDuff finally finds MacBeth and the fight begins. While fighting, MacBeth tells MacDuff he is wasting his time because he cannot be killed by a woman born human. MacDuff shocks MacBeth by letting him know he was not woman born but cut out of his mother’s womb. MacBeth still does not give up and they continue fighting. As trumpets sound victory of the Scottish and English forces, MacDuff enters carrying MacBeth’s head and declared Malcolm King of Scotland.

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