Scene 1

Characters: Doctor, Gentlewoman, Lady Macbeth

Location: In the Macbeth castle

Time: Overnight

Events: A Doctor has been called to the castle by a Gentlewoman who watches over Lady Macbeth at night, because Lady M has been sleepwalking and doing/saying strange things in her sleep. The Doctor and Gentlewoman have been watching for these events for 2 nights in a row and nothing has happened yet, so the Doctor doubts that what has allegedly happened was really true. As they have this discussion, Lady Macbeth enters with a candle, which she has to have next to her bed at all times. She rubs her hands together like she’s washing them, which is an “accustomed action”. Then she speaks, saying “Out, damned spot; out, I say… Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” and continues to pretend to wash her hands whilst revealing information to the Gentlewoman and Doctor about the murders of Duncan and Banquo. The Gentlewoman says she would not want a heart like hers even if it did make her Queen. Lady Macbeth says “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand,” and then she hears a knocking at the door (in her sleep) and leaves in a fluster. The Doctor concludes to the Gentlewoman that Lady Macbeth is in more need of a Priest than a Doctor, and orders the Gentlewoman to remove anything that Lady Macbeth could hurt herself with. He leaves, urging the Gentlewoman to not repeat anything that Lady Macbeth had said.

Quote(s): “Wash 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.” – Lady Macbeth. Wash your hands and put on your nightgown. Don’t look so scared, I’ll tell you again. Banquo is buried and well dead – he can’t come back out of his grave. This is significant because this is when it is directly said in the presence of the Doctor and Gentlewoman that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were involved in the murder of Banquo.

“What’s done cannot be undone.” – Lady Macbeth.

Scene 2

Characters: Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lenox, and other soldiers.

Location: Birnam Wood

Time: The day after Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking?

Events: The thanes Menteith, Caithness, Angus and Lenox are grouped in Birnam Wood and leading on a group of soldiers. They are going to meet Malcolm and his English Army, with his uncle Siward, Young Siward and Macduff joining them. They talk about how Macbeth is mad, but those who “hate him less” just think he is filled with fury. They are saying they will purge the country of Macbeth’s influence.

Quote(s): “Those he commands move only in command, Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe Upon a dwarfish thief.” – Angus. Those who he commands are only following orders, they have no love or respect for him. Now it is like he is too small to fill the job of King, like a dwarf trying to fit a giant’s robe. This is another clothing metaphor about kingship (See Act 1).

Scene 3

Characters: Macbeth, Servant, Seyton, Doctor

Location: Dunsinane Castle

Time: While the English/Scottish army from Scene 2 are preparing for battle

Events: Macbeth is sick of hearing reports about the thanes that have joined the English army, and feels consoled because of the Witches prophesy that no one can defeat him til Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. He also says “What’s the boy Malcolm? Was he not born of woman?” and feels invincible. A servant enters, telling Macbeth about 10,000 English soldiers that are coming, and Macbeth sends him away, scorning him for his cowardice with a large range of insults. Macbeth calls for Seyton (another servant) and he says his life is beginning to fall away like an old yellow leaf, and that he has mouth-honour and curses whispered against him instead of all the things he should have in old age like true honour, obedience, and love. He orders Seyton to help him put on his armour, even though the battle is still some time away, because he wants to be prepared. Macbeth calls in the Doctor and asked if Lady Macbeth is better yet, to which he says she is “Not so sick, my lord, As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies That keep her from her rest.” Macbeth orders him to cure her, but the doctor says the kind of healing she needs must come from within herself. Macbeth asks the Doctor to examine his country and find the medicine that could cure it, and asks what drug could purge the country of the English army. Macbeth then says to Seyton to bring the armour with him, again saying “I will not be afraid of death and bane, Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.”. The Doctor says he wishes he were as far from Dunsinane as possible.

Quote(s): “The mind I sway by and the heart I bear Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.” – Macbeth. My mind and courageous heart will never doubt or fear.

“And that which should accompany old age, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have, but, in their stead, curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.” – Macbeth. The things that should come with old age, like honour, love, obedience, loyal friends, I cannot hope to have. Instead I get curses, not spoken aloud but in the heart, honour to my face but not true honour, and life which I don’t want (?). 

“Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here.” – Doctor. If I was far away from Dunsinane, no amount of money could make me come back here again. 

Scene 4

Characters: Malcolm, Siward, Macduff, Young Siward, Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lenox, Rosse, Soldiers

Location: In Birnam Wood

Time: During the day?

Events: All of the characters are marching towards Dunsinane. Malcolm says “Let every soldier hew him down a bough and bear it before him”, aka, cut down a branch of Birnam Wood to hold in front of them so that they can disguise the true amount of soldiers in their army. Siward says Macbeth is overconfident and waiting for their arrival in Dunsinane. Malcolm says the only people who fight for Macbeth are forced to, and their hearts aren’t in it. Then they all exit, marching.

Quote(s): “Let every soldier hew him down a bough And bear ’t before him. Thereby shall we shadow The numbers of our host and make discovery Err in report of us.” – Malcolm. To every soldier: Cut down a branch of Birnam Wood and hold it in front of you. In doing this we will hide the true numbers of our army from anyone who sees us. 

Scene 5

Characters: Macbeth

Location: Dunsinane Castle

Time: Night

Events: Macbeth says to hang banners on the outside walls of the castle, saying that he won’t be defeated and the castle will hold until the attackers die of famine. He says if it weren’t for the fact that lots of his soldiers joined their army, he would have defeated them back to England by now. A cry is heard, and Macbeth says that at one point that would have scared him, but now he has heard and seen so many horrible things that they can’t scare him anymore. Seyton comes in and tells Macbeth that his wife is dead. Macbeth comments on the meaninglessness of life, saying she would have died at some point anyway. A messenger runs in and tells Macbeth that Birnam Wood moving. Macbeth calls him a liar, but the messenger swears it is true and says the wood is advancing towards the castle. Macbeth realises that what the witches have said true and is beginning to work against him. He says he is beginning to be tired of living and he signals the alarm. He says “at least I’ll die fighting.”

Quote:

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
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
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”  – Macbeth, after hearing of his wife’s death.

Scene 6

Characters: Malcolm, Siward, Young Siward, all the other soldiers

Location: Birnam Wood

Time: The battle is beginning

Events: Malcolm says they are close enough now and orders everyone to drop their branches, showing the true size of their army. He says that his Uncle Siward and Young Siward (his cousin, Siward’s son) will lead the first battle, while he (Malcolm) and Macduff will follow. Malcolm orders everyone to blow their trumpets.

Quote(s):

Scenes 7-11, all one big summary coz from now on it’s confuzzling

7) Macbeth says that it’s like he’s been tied to a stake and can’t get away. Young Siward enters, demanding Macbeth’s name. Macbeth says “Thou ‘lt be afraid to hear it”, but Young Siward demands it. Macbeth says his name, and Y.S says “The devil himself could not pronounce a title (name) more hateful to mine ear.”. They fight, and Young Siward is killed. Macbeth says “Thou wast born of woman. But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, Brandished by man that’s of a woman born.”  You were born of woman. I smile at swords and laugh at weapons that are held by a man born of a woman.

8) Macduff enters, alone. He says that he must be the one to fight and kill Macbeth, or else the ghosts of his wife and children will haunt him forever. He says he will either fight Macbeth or else his sword will go unused. As he leaves, he asks Fortune to help him to find Macbeth.

9) Siward and Malcolm enter. Siward says that the castle has been “surrendered without a fight”, and that Macbeth’s soldiers are fighting on both sides. He says that the battle is pretty much already won for Malcolm’s army. They charge the castle.

10) Macbeth enters, and says “Why should I commit suicide? As long as I can see other people, the gashes that my sword makes are still better on them than me”. Macduff enters and challenges Macbeth, who replies with “please leave, I’ve killed enough people in your family already”. Macduff says he will kill Macbeth, but Macbeth (filled with confidence through the witches’ prophesy) says “you’re wasting your time trying to hurt me. I live a charmed life, and I can’t be killed by anyone of woman born”. It is at this point where Macduff reveals he was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripped” aka caesarean section, and therefore technically not “born” of a woman. Macbeth realises that the witches have, although been truthful, tricked him, and he decides not to fight Macduff. Macduff says he will need to yield and become the laughing stock of Scotland under Malcolm’s rule in order to stay alive. Macbeth says that he will not yield and “kiss the ground beneath Malcolm’s feet”, and although Birnam Wood HAS come to Dunsinane and is now fighting someone not of woman born, he will fight right to the very end. They exit fighting each other.

“Despair thy charm, And let the angel whom thou still hast served Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb Untimely ripped.” – Macduff

“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, That keep the word of promise to our ear, And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee.” – Macbeth. This is very similar to what Banquo says in act 1 when he says that things like the witches will tell us true things when it’s not important in order to “betray us in deepest consequence”, or when it actually matters. 

11) Malcolm and Siward enter, having won the battle. Malcolm notices that Macduff and Young Siward are both missing. Rosse enters and tells Siward that his son is dead, but that he died like a man. Rosse says “Your cause of sorrow Must not be measured by his worth, for then It hath no end.” which I thought was very nice. After Rosse confirms that Young Siward’s wounds were on his front (he died while still fighting bravely), Siward says “Had I as many sons as I have hairs, I would not wish them to a fairer death.” (no matter how many sons I had, I couldn’t wish on them a better death). Macduff enters holding Macbeth’s severed head and calling “Hail, King of Scotland!” to Malcolm. Malcolm in that moment names all the Thanes as Earls, the English equivalent of a Thane (I think?). He says he will call back everyone that Macbeth has exiled and will attempt to heal the wounds inflicted on the country by “this dead butcher and his fiendlike queen”. Malcolm invites everyone to come and see him crowned at Scone.

THE END 🙂

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