List iconMacbethList icon

Macbeth
Act 5, scene 8

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…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 8
Enter Macbeth.

MACBETH 
 Why should I play the Roman fool and die
 On mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes
 Do better upon them.

Enter Macduff.

MACDUFF  Turn, hellhound, turn!
MACBETH 
5 Of all men else I have avoided thee.
 But get thee back. My soul is too much charged
 With blood of thine already.
MACDUFF  I have no words;
 My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain
10 Than terms can give thee out.Fight. Alarum.
MACBETH  Thou losest labor.
 As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air
 With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed.
 Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
15 I bear a charmèd life, which must not yield
 To one of woman born.
MACDUFF  Despair thy charm,
 And let the angel whom thou still hast served
 Tell thee Macduff was from his mother’s womb
20 Untimely ripped.

187
Macbeth
ACT 5. SC. 8

MACBETH 
 Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so,
 For it hath cowed my better part of man!
 And be these juggling fiends no more believed
 That palter with us in a double sense,
25 That keep the word of promise to our ear
 And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee.
MACDUFF Then yield thee, coward,
 And live to be the show and gaze o’ th’ time.
 We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
30 Painted upon a pole, and underwrit
 “Here may you see the tyrant.”
MACBETH  I will not yield
 To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet
 And to be baited with the rabble’s curse.
35 Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane
 And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
 Yet I will try the last. Before my body
 I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
 And damned be him that first cries “Hold! Enough!”
They exit fighting. Alarums.

They enter fighting, and Macbeth is slain. Macduff
exits carrying off Macbeth’s body. Retreat and flourish.

Enter, with Drum and Colors, Malcolm, Siward, Ross,
Thanes, and Soldiers.


MALCOLM 
40 I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.
SIWARD 
 Some must go off; and yet by these I see
 So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
MALCOLM 
 Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
ROSS 
 Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt.
45 He only lived but till he was a man,

189
Macbeth
ACT 5. SC. 8

 The which no sooner had his prowess confirmed
 In the unshrinking station where he fought,
 But like a man he died.
SIWARD  Then he is dead?
ROSS 
50 Ay, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow
 Must not be measured by his worth, for then
 It hath no end.
SIWARD  Had he his hurts before?
ROSS 
 Ay, on the front.
SIWARD 55 Why then, God’s soldier be he!
 Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
 I would not wish them to a fairer death;
 And so his knell is knolled.
MALCOLM 
 He’s worth more sorrow, and that I’ll spend for
60 him.
SIWARD He’s worth no more.
 They say he parted well and paid his score,
 And so, God be with him. Here comes newer
 comfort.

Enter Macduff with Macbeth’s head.

MACDUFF 
65 Hail, King! for so thou art. Behold where stands
 Th’ usurper’s cursèd head. The time is free.
 I see thee compassed with thy kingdom’s pearl,
 That speak my salutation in their minds,
 Whose voices I desire aloud with mine.
70 Hail, King of Scotland!
ALL Hail, King of Scotland!Flourish.
MALCOLM 
 We shall not spend a large expense of time
 Before we reckon with your several loves
 And make us even with you. My thanes and
75 kinsmen,

191
Macbeth
ACT 5. SC. 8

 Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland
 In such an honor named. What’s more to do,
 Which would be planted newly with the time,
 As calling home our exiled friends abroad
80 That fled the snares of watchful tyranny,
 Producing forth the cruel ministers
 Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen
 (Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent hands,
 Took off her life)—this, and what needful else
85 That calls upon us, by the grace of grace,
 We will perform in measure, time, and place.
 So thanks to all at once and to each one,
 Whom we invite to see us crowned at Scone.
Flourish. All exit.