Macbeth - Act 5, scene 5
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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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 and of the apparent movement of Birnam Wood toward Dunsinane Castle, where he waits. He desperately resolves to abandon the castle and give battle to Malcolm in the field.Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers, with Drum and
2260 Hang out our banners on the outward walls.
2261 The cry is still “They come!” Our castle’s strength
2262 Will laugh a siege to scorn. Here let them lie
2263 Till famine and the ague eat them up.
2264 5 Were they not forced with those that should be
2266 We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
2267 And beat them backward home.
A cry within of women.
2268 What is that noise?
2269 10 It is the cry of women, my good lord.⌜He exits.⌝
2270 I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
2271 The time has been my senses would have cooled
2272 To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
2273 Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
2274 15 As life were in ’t. I have supped full with horrors.
2275 Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
2276 Cannot once start me.
2277 Wherefore was that cry?
SEYTON 2278 The Queen, my lord, is dead.
MACBETH 2279 20She should have died hereafter.
2280 There would have been a time for such a word.
2281 Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
2282 Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
2283 To the last syllable of recorded time,
2284 25 And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
2285 The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
2287 That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
2288 And then is heard no more. It is a tale
2289 30 Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
2290 Signifying nothing.
Enter a Messenger.
2291 Thou com’st to use thy tongue: thy story quickly.
MESSENGER 2292 Gracious my lord,
2293 I should report that which I say I saw,
2294 35 But know not how to do ’t.
MACBETH 2295 Well, say, sir.
2296 As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
2297 I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought
2298 The Wood began to move.
MACBETH 2299 40 Liar and slave!
2300 Let me endure your wrath if ’t be not so.
2301 Within this three mile may you see it coming.
2302 I say, a moving grove.
MACBETH 2303 If thou speak’st false,
2304 45 Upon the next tree shall thou hang alive
2305 Till famine cling thee. If thy speech be sooth,
2306 I care not if thou dost for me as much.—
2307 I pull in resolution and begin
2308 To doubt th’ equivocation of the fiend,
2309 50 That lies like truth. “Fear not till Birnam Wood
2310 Do come to Dunsinane,” and now a wood
2311 Comes toward Dunsinane.—Arm, arm, and out!—
2312 If this which he avouches does appear,
2313 There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
2314 55 I ’gin to be aweary of the sun
2315 And wish th’ estate o’ th’ world were now
2318 At least we’ll die with harness on our back.