List iconMacbeth:
Act 5, scene 5
List icon

Act 5, 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…

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Scene 5
Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers, with Drum and

 Hang out our banners on the outward walls.
 The cry is still “They come!” Our castle’s strength
 Will laugh a siege to scorn. Here let them lie
 Till famine and the ague eat them up.
5 Were they not forced with those that should be
 We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
 And beat them backward home.
A cry within of women.
 What is that noise?
10 It is the cry of women, my good lord.He exits.
 I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
 The time has been my senses would have cooled
 To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
 Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
15 As life were in ’t. I have supped full with horrors.
 Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
 Cannot once start me.

Enter Seyton.

 Wherefore was that cry?
SEYTON The Queen, my lord, is dead.
MACBETH 20She should have died hereafter.
 There would have been a time for such a word.
 Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
 Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
 To the last syllable of recorded time,
25 And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
 The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

ACT 5. SC. 5

 Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
 That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
 And then is heard no more. It is a tale
30 Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
 Signifying nothing.

Enter a Messenger.

 Thou com’st to use thy tongue: thy story quickly.
MESSENGER Gracious my lord,
 I should report that which I say I saw,
35 But know not how to do ’t.
MACBETH  Well, say, sir.
 As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
 I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought
 The Wood began to move.
MACBETH 40 Liar and slave!
 Let me endure your wrath if ’t be not so.
 Within this three mile may you see it coming.
 I say, a moving grove.
MACBETH  If thou speak’st false,
45 Upon the next tree shall thou hang alive
 Till famine cling thee. If thy speech be sooth,
 I care not if thou dost for me as much.—
 I pull in resolution and begin
 To doubt th’ equivocation of the fiend,
50 That lies like truth. “Fear not till Birnam Wood
 Do come to Dunsinane,” and now a wood
 Comes toward Dunsinane.—Arm, arm, and out!—
 If this which he avouches does appear,
 There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
55 I ’gin to be aweary of the sun
 And wish th’ estate o’ th’ world were now

ACT 5. SC. 6/7

 Ring the alarum bell!—Blow wind, come wrack,
 At least we’ll die with harness on our back.
They exit.