List iconMacbeth:
Act 1, scene 5
List icon

Act 1, scene 5



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Macbeth, set primarily in Scotland, mixes witchcraft, prophecy, and murder. Three “Weïrd Sisters” appear to Macbeth and his comrade Banquo…

Act 1, scene 1

Three witches plan to meet Macbeth.

Act 1, scene 2

Duncan, king of Scotland, hears an account of the success in battle of his noblemen Macbeth and Banquo. Duncan orders…

Act 1, scene 3

The three witches greet Macbeth as “Thane of Glamis” (as he is), “Thane of Cawdor,” and “king hereafter.” They then…

Act 1, scene 4

Duncan demands and receives assurances that the former thane of Cawdor has been executed. When Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus…

Act 1, scene 5

Lady Macbeth reads her husband’s letter about his meeting the witches. She fears that Macbeth lacks the ruthlessness he needs…

Act 1, scene 6

Duncan and his attendants arrive at Inverness. Lady Macbeth welcomes them.

Act 1, scene 7

Macbeth contemplates the reasons why it is a terrible thing to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth mocks his fears and offers…

Act 2, scene 1

Banquo, who has accompanied Duncan to Inverness, is uneasy because he too is tempted by the witches’ prophecies, although only…

Act 2, scene 2

Lady Macbeth waits anxiously for Macbeth to return from killing Duncan. When Macbeth enters, he is horrified by what he…

Act 2, scene 3

A drunken porter, answering the knocking at the gate, plays the role of a devil-porter at the gates of hell….

Act 2, scene 4

An old man and Ross exchange accounts of recent unnatural happenings. Macduff joins them to report that Malcolm and Donalbain…

Act 3, scene 1

Banquo suspects that Macbeth killed Duncan in order to become king. Macbeth invites Banquo to a feast that night. Banquo…

Act 3, scene 2

Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth express their unhappiness. Macbeth speaks of his fear of Banquo especially. He refers to a…

Act 3, scene 3

A third man joins the two whom Macbeth has already sent to kill Banquo and Fleance. The three assassins manage…

Act 3, scene 4

As Macbeth’s banquet begins, one of Banquo’s murderers appears at the door to tell Macbeth of Banquo’s death and Fleance’s…

Act 3, scene 5

The presentation of the witches in this scene (as in 4.1.38 SD–43 and 141–48) differs from their presentation in the…

Act 3, scene 6

Lennox and an unnamed lord discuss politics in Scotland. Lennox comments sarcastically upon Macbeth’s “official” versions of the many recent…

Act 4, scene 1

Macbeth approaches the witches to learn how to make his kingship secure. In response they summon for him three apparitions:…

Act 4, scene 2

Ross visits Lady Macduff and tries to justify to her Macduff’s flight to England, a flight that leaves his family…

Act 4, scene 3

Macduff finds Malcolm at the English court and urges him to attack Macbeth at once. Malcolm suspects that Macduff is…

Act 5, scene 1

A gentlewoman who waits on Lady Macbeth has seen her walking in her sleep and has asked a doctor’s advice….

Act 5, scene 2

A Scottish force, in rebellion against Macbeth, marches toward Birnam Wood to join Malcolm and his English army.

Act 5, scene 3

Reports are brought to Macbeth of the Scottish and English forces massed against him. He seeks assurance in the apparitions’…

Act 5, scene 4

The rebel Scottish forces have joined Malcolm’s army at Birnam Wood. Malcolm orders each soldier to cut down and carry…

Act 5, scene 5

Macbeth is confident that he can withstand any siege from Malcolm’s forces. He is then told of Lady Macbeth’s death…

Act 5, scene 6

Malcolm arrives with his troops before Dunsinane Castle.

Act 5, scene 7

On the battlefield Macbeth kills young Siward, the son of the English commander. After Macbeth exits, Macduff arrives in search…

Act 5, scene 8

Macduff finds Macbeth, who is reluctant to fight with him because Macbeth has already killed Macduff’s whole family and is…

Include links to:

Quill icon
Scene 5
Enter Macbeth’s Wife, alone, with a letter.

LADY MACBETH, reading the letter They met me in the
 day of success, and I have learned by the perfect’st
 report they have more in them than mortal knowledge.
 When I burned in desire to question them further, they
5 made themselves air, into which they vanished.
 Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it came missives
 from the King, who all-hailed me “Thane of Cawdor,”
 by which title, before, these Weïrd Sisters saluted me
 and referred me to the coming on of time with “Hail,
10 king that shalt be.” This have I thought good to deliver
 thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou
 might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant
 of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy
 heart, and farewell.

15 Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
 What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
 It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness
 To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,
 Art not without ambition, but without
20 The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst
 That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false
 And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou ’dst have, great
25 That which cries “Thus thou must do,” if thou have
 And that which rather thou dost fear to do,
 Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither,
 That I may pour my spirits in thine ear
30 And chastise with the valor of my tongue
 All that impedes thee from the golden round,
 Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
 To have thee crowned withal.

ACT 1. SC. 5

Enter Messenger.

 What is your tidings?
35 The King comes here tonight.
LADY MACBETH  Thou ’rt mad to say it.
 Is not thy master with him, who, were ’t so,
 Would have informed for preparation?
 So please you, it is true. Our thane is coming.
40 One of my fellows had the speed of him,
 Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
 Than would make up his message.
LADY MACBETH  Give him tending.
 He brings great news.Messenger exits.
45 The raven himself is hoarse
 That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
 Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
 That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
 And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
50 Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
 Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse,
 That no compunctious visitings of nature
 Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
 Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts
55 And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
 Wherever in your sightless substances
 You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
 And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
 That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
60 Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
 To cry “Hold, hold!”

Enter Macbeth.

 Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor,
 Greater than both by the all-hail hereafter!

ACT 1. SC. 6

 Thy letters have transported me beyond
65 This ignorant present, and I feel now
 The future in the instant.
MACBETH  My dearest love,
 Duncan comes here tonight.
LADY MACBETH  And when goes hence?
70 Tomorrow, as he purposes.
 Shall sun that morrow see!
 Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
 May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
75 Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,
 Your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent
 But be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming
 Must be provided for; and you shall put
80 This night’s great business into my dispatch,
 Which shall to all our nights and days to come
 Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
 We will speak further.
LADY MACBETH  Only look up clear.
85 To alter favor ever is to fear.
 Leave all the rest to me.
They exit.