Act 5

Act 5, scene i Summary:

A doctor and a gentlewoman, someone who is responsible for waiting on the queen, discuss Lady Macbeth's strange behavior of sleep walking. While the gentlewoman has heard Lady Macbeth talk in her sleep, she refuses to tell the doctor what she has heard. Suddenly Lady Macbeth enters and the pair watches her rub her hands in a strange fashion, all the while talking to herself as if she's speaking to Macbeth. The doctor and gentlewoman know she is keeping a secret. She leaves and the two discuss her strange behavior, noting she needs a priest and not a doctor.

Act 5, scene ii Summary:

A group of lords, including Menteith, Caithness, Angus and Lenox, discuss what is going on within the various armies. The English army, led by Malcolm, is approaching, ready to fight for the wrongs they've suffered while the Scottish army is planning on meeting them near Birnam Wood in order to join forces. The lords note Macbeth has fortified Dunsinane castle because he is beginning to worry about getting attacked. Some think he is insane. The lords agree they need to ban together to conquer Macbeth and make Malcolm king.

Act 5, scene iii Summary:

Macbeth claims he has nothing to fear from Malcolm or the English army since none of them can harm him since they were all born from a woman and he can not be harmed until Birnam Wood gets up and moves to Dunsinane (believing in the witches' prophecy). His servant, Seyton, then reports that the English army of 10,000 men is approaching the castle. Macbeth begins to worry slightly and claims he will fight to the end. He insists upon wearing his armor and orders more calvary sent out. He asks the doctor how his wife he and the doctor reports she is unable to sleep due to her terrible sleepwalking. Macbeth demands he cure her.

Act 5, scene iv Summary:

Malcoln addresses the English lord Siward and his soldiers and commands them to each cut a branch from a tree in the Birnan Wood and carry it in front of themself during their march to the castle as a way disguise how many of them there truly is. Malcoln notes that no one wants to fight for Macbeth unless they are forced to but Macduff is more cautious and warns them to fight like true soldiers. The army moves forward.

Act 5, scene v Summary:

Within the castle Macbeth laughs at the approaching army and brags that his fortress can not be taken. Seyton informs Macbeth that his wife is dead. While Macbeth is shocked he appears to blow it off as something that was inevitable. Meanwhile a messenger enters and tells Macbeth that it seems as though the trees of the Birnam Wood are approaching the castle. Macbeth threatens the messenger if he's lying but begins to get nervous and fear what the witches told him is not the truth. He accepts he might die and thinks at least he will die fighting.

Act 5, scene vi Summary:

The army approaches Macbeth's castle and Malcolm commands the soldiers to put down their tree limbs and draw their swords in preparation for battle.

Act 5, scene vii Summary:

As the battle gets underway Macbeth is tied to a stake and has to stand to fight. He demands to know who is not from a woman for that is the only person he fears. Young Siward enters and the two men fight. Siward is killed. Macduff searches through the chaos of the battle for Macbeth whom he personally wants revenge against. He returns to battle. Old Siward and Malcolm note how Macbeth's army appears to fight without trying to hurt their army.

Act 5, scene viii Summary:

Macbeth and Macduff come face to face and fight. Macbeth tells Macduff he cannot be harmed by him since he was born of a woman. Yet Macduff explains that he was not born; he was cut from his mother's womb. Macbeth becomes frightened and the pair continues to fight. The English army is victorious and enters the castle led by Malcolm. Meanwhile Macduff enters holding Macbeth's head. Malcolm is declared King of Scotland and promises to reward all who helped him.