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Macbeth
Act 5, scene 1

Synopsis:

Contents

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…

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Scene 1
Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewoman.

DOCTOR I have two nights watched with you but can
 perceive no truth in your report. When was it she
 last walked?
GENTLEWOMAN Since his Majesty went into the field, I
5 have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown
 upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper,
 fold it, write upon ’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and
 again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast
 sleep.
DOCTOR 10A great perturbation in nature, to receive at
 once the benefit of sleep and do the effects of
 watching. In this slumb’ry agitation, besides her
 walking and other actual performances, what at any
 time have you heard her say?
GENTLEWOMAN 15That, sir, which I will not report after
 her.
DOCTOR You may to me, and ’tis most meet you
 should.
GENTLEWOMAN Neither to you nor anyone, having no
20 witness to confirm my speech.

Enter Lady Macbeth with a taper.

 Lo you, here she comes. This is her very guise and,
 upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
161

163
Macbeth
ACT 5. SC. 1

DOCTOR How came she by that light?
GENTLEWOMAN Why, it stood by her. She has light by
25 her continually. ’Tis her command.
DOCTOR You see her eyes are open.
GENTLEWOMAN Ay, but their sense are shut.
DOCTOR What is it she does now? Look how she rubs
 her hands.
GENTLEWOMAN 30It is an accustomed action with her to
 seem thus washing her hands. I have known her
 continue in this a quarter of an hour.
LADY MACBETH Yet here’s a spot.
DOCTOR Hark, she speaks. I will set down what comes
35 from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more
 strongly.
LADY MACBETH Out, damned spot, out, I say! One. Two.
 Why then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my
 lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear
40 who knows it, when none can call our power to
 account? Yet who would have thought the old man
 to have had so much blood in him?
DOCTOR Do you mark that?
LADY MACBETH The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is
45 she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No
 more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all
 with this starting.
DOCTOR Go to, go to. You have known what you should
 not.
GENTLEWOMAN 50She has spoke what she should not,
 I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has
 known.
LADY MACBETH Here’s the smell of the blood still. All
 the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
55 hand. O, O, O!
DOCTOR What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely
 charged.
GENTLEWOMAN I would not have such a heart in my
 bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

165
Macbeth
ACT 5. SC. 2

DOCTOR 60Well, well, well.
GENTLEWOMAN Pray God it be, sir.
DOCTOR This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have
 known those which have walked in their sleep,
 who have died holily in their beds.
LADY MACBETH 65Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown.
 Look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo’s
 buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.
DOCTOR Even so?
LADY MACBETH To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the
70 gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your
 hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to
 bed, to bed.Lady Macbeth exits.
DOCTOR Will she go now to bed?
GENTLEWOMAN Directly.
DOCTOR 
75 Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
 Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds
 To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
 More needs she the divine than the physician.
 God, God forgive us all. Look after her.
80 Remove from her the means of all annoyance
 And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night.
 My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
 I think but dare not speak.
GENTLEWOMAN  Good night, good doctor.
They exit.