Macbeth: Plot Synopsis

                Act I, Scene I 
                Amidst thunder and lightening, three witches meet to plan their encounter with
                Macbeth, a Scottish general and the Thane of Glamis. They agree to gather again at
                twilight upon a heath that Macbeth will cross on his way home from battle. 

                Act I, Scene II 
                King Duncan of the Scots awaits news of the battle between his men and the rebels
                led by the Thane of Cawdor. The King and his sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, meet a
                soldier who is weak and bleeding. He reports that Macbeth and Banquo have
                performed valiently in the fight. His admiration of the noble yet brutal Macbeth is deep

                     For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name--
                     Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
                     Which smoked with bloody execution,
                     Like valour's minion carved out his passage...
                     Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
                     And fix'd his head upon our battlements. (I.ii.15-20)

                King Duncan is delighted at his captains' bravery, and, when Angus and Ross arrive to
                tell him that the Thane of Cawdor has surrendered, Duncan gladly hands over the
                Thane's title and all his land to Macbeth. 

                Act I, Scene III 
                The Witches meet on the dark and lonely heath to await Macbeth. To pass the time
                they exchange boasts about their evil deeds. Macbeth and Banquo come across the
                Weird Sisters and we see immediately that Macbeth has a strange connection to the
                Witches, mimicing their famous words spoken earlier in the drama: "So foul and fair a
                day I have not seen" (I.iii.38). The Witches address Macbeth as Glamis, Cawdor, and
                King of the Scots. Macbeth is startled by what he sees clearly as a prophecy that he
                will be Scotland's next ruler. He is too stunned to speak and thus Banquo asks the
                Witches if there is any more to their premonition. They do have something to add, not
                about Macbeth, but about Banquo. They talk in riddles, telling him he will be "Lesser
                than Macbeth, and greater" and "Not so happy, yet much happier" (I.iii.65-6). They also
                tell Banquo that even though he will never himself be king, he will beget future kings of
                Scotland. Then the Witches disappear into the darkness, despite the pleadings of
                Macbeth, whose shock has turned to the lust for more information. Once alone,
                Macbeth and Banquo pretend not to believe anything the Weird Sisters have said, but
                in secret they cannot help thinking that there is a little truth to the Hags' words. Ross
                and Angus arrive and inform Macbeth that Duncan has appointed him Thane of
                Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo are stunned by the turn of events, realizing that the
                Witches are right about one facet of the prophecy, and Macbeth cannot help but focus
                on their other, greater prediction that he will be king. 

                Act I, Scene IV 
                Macbeth and Banquo reach King Duncan's castle and Duncan praises Macbeth for his
                loyalty and valor. He also embraces Banquo and thanks him for his courage during the
                rebellion. He announces that he has decided to visit Macbeth's castle at Iverness, and
                that he has chosen his son, Malcolm, to be the Prince of Cumberland and, therefore,
                the next king of Scotland. Macbeth proposes that he leave early for his castle to make
                sure everything is perfect for the King's arrival, and Duncan happily approves. But
                Macbeth is really only concerned with the King's choice of successor. With ambitious
                thoughts racing through his mind, Macbeth again finds himself lusting after the crown:
                "Stars, hide your fires/Let not light see my black and deep desires" (I.iv.50-1). 

                Act I, Scene V 
                Scene V opens in a room in Macbeth's castle at Iverness. Lady Macbeth is reading a
                letter sent by her husband, reporting all of the strange events he has witnessed. She
                learns of the prophecy of the Witches and that one prediction has already come true.
                Lady Macbeth is ecstatic and she fixes her mind on obtaining the throne for Macbeth
                by any means necessary. But Lady Macbeth knows that her husband has a weakness
                that will prevent him from taking the steps required to secure the crown. She is sure
                that because Macbeth is an ambitious man, he has entertained the thought of killing
                Duncan, no doubt several times. But she fears that he is without the wickedness that
                should attend those murderous thoughts. Although the unusually vicious slaying of his
                enemies on the battlefield have us questioning his propensity for evil, Lady Macbeth
                feels that he is simply "too full o' the milk of human kindness" to kill King Duncan. She,
                however, thinks herself not as compassionate as her husband, and when a
                messenger arrives with word that Duncan plans to visit Inverness, she is overjoyed
                that the opportunity to murder the King has presented itself so soon. She summons all
                the evil spirits to ensure that no pleadings of any man will come between her and her
                monstrous deed:

                     Come you spirits
                     That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
                     And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full
                     Of direst cruelty! (I.v.40-4)

                Macbeth arrives at the castle and Lady Macbeth is ready to tempt him to join her in
                murder. She subtly hints at her intentions: "Your hand, your tongue: look like the
                innocent flower/But be the serpent under it. He that's coming/Must be provided for..."
                (I.v.65-7). Macbeth dodges the matter at hand and sheepishly tells her that they will
                speak further on the subject. Lady Macbeth confidently assures him, "Leave all the rest
                to me" (I.v.74). 

                Act I, Scene VI 
                Duncan arrives at the castle with his sons, and Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, and others
                in his party. Ironically, Duncan and Banquo discuss the beauty of the castle while
                inside it reeks of moral decay. Banquo goes so far as to say that the 'temple-haunting
                martlet' does approve of the castle and its sweet smelling fresh air. Unbeknownst to
                Banquo, this is a particularly inappropriate reference to the martlet, a bird known for
                building its nest near holy places. Lady Macbeth is the first to greet Duncan and his
                court. She welcomes them gracefully to her humble abode. As is the custom of the
                land, she tells the King that she has prepared an account of all that she owns so that
                Duncan may perform an inventory of his subjects' belongings. But Duncan does not
                want to discuss such matters. He again expresses his love for Macbeth and they all
                move behind the castle walls. 

                Act I, Scene VII 
                Macbeth is alone in a dining room in the castle. His conscience is acting up, and he is
                particularly worried about the punishment he will receive in the afterlife. "If it were done,
                when 'tis done, then twere well/It were done quickly". If there were no consequences to
                be suffered for killing Duncan, then Macbeth would not be so reluctant. But he
                concludes that even if heaven were not going to judge him, he cannot bring himself to
                kill Duncan, whom he believes is a good man and an excellent monarch. Lady
                Macbeth walks in on her husband and sees the indecision on his face. Macbeth tells
                her that he has changed his mind: "We will proceed no further in this business"
                (I.vii.31). Lady Macbeth, who is ruthless beyond comprehension, refuses to accept
                Macbeth's decision. Instead, Lady Macbeth plays upon his emotions, calling him a
                coward and accusing him of not loving her. Her cunning words work well on Macbeth,
                and she turns his mind back to thoughts of murder. However, he is still afraid and he
                asks her "If we should fail?" (I.vii.53). With conviction and confidence enough for both
                of them, Lady Macbeth responds to her husband's doubts: "We fail! But screw your
                courage to the sticking place/And we'll not fail" (I.vii.54-56). Macbeth is once and for all
                convinced -- they will proceed with the murder of the King. 

                Act II, Scene I 
                The night falls over the castle at Iverness. Banquo comments to his son, Fleance, that
                it is as black a night as he has seen. Banquo is having trouble sleeping, for the
                prophecy of the Witches is foremost on his mind. He hints that he too has been
                thinking ambitious thoughts and he begs the heavens for the will to suppress them:
                "Merciful powers/Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature/Gives way to in
                repose" (II.i.7-9). Banquo meets Macbeth in the courtyard and he tries to bring up the
                subject of the Witches but Macbeth refuses to discuss them or their predictions. He
                bluntly replies "I think not of them", and bids Banquo goodnight. Macbeth goes to an
                empty room and waits for his wife to ring the bell, signalling that Duncan's guards are
                in a drunken slumber. Macbeth's mind is racing with thoughts of the evil he is about to
                perform and he begins to hallucinate, seeing a bloody dagger appear in the air. He
                soliloquizes on the wickedness in the world before concluding that talking about the
                murder will only make the deed that much harder to complete. Suddenly, a bell rings
                out. Macbeth braces himself and utters these final words:

                     I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
                     Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
                     That summons thee to heaven, or to hell. (II.i.62-4)

                Act II, Scene II 
                Lady Macbeth has drugged Duncan's guards and she waits in her chamber for
                Macbeth to commit the murder. She hears moans of torture coming from Duncan's
                quarters and she loses some of her composure. She fears that they have awoken the
                guards and she confesses that she would have killed the King herself if he did not
                resemble her own father. Macbeth returns a murderer; his hands dripping in blood of
                his victims. The two whisper about the deed and Macbeth nervously recounts the cries
                each man made before he stabbed them. Lady Macbeth tells him to "consider it not so
                deeply" (II.ii.30), but Macbeth can focus only on their screams and the frightening
                realization that, when one cried "God bless us!", he tried to say "Amen" in response,
                but the word stuck in his throat. Lady Macbeth pleads with her husband to put the act
                out of his mind but Macbeth only thinks harder upon what he has done. He hears a
                voice cry "Glamis hath murther'd sleep: and therefore Cawdor/Shall sleep no more:
                Macbeth shall sleep no more!" (II.ii.41-3). Lady Macbeth insists that he go wash his
                face and hands and place the daggers that he has so carelessly brought back with
                him in the hands of the guards. Macbeth refuses to return to the scene of the crime
                and so Lady Macbeth goes instead. Alone, Macbeth stares at his blood-soaked hands:

                     What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes!
                     Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
                     Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
                     The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
                     Making the green one red. (II.ii.59-63)

                Lady Macbeth comes back, now with hands equally bloody. They hear a knock at the
                castle doors and Lady Macbeth again demands that Macbeth wash up and go to bed,
                for they must pretend that they have been sound asleep the entire night. Macbeth's
                words of regret bring the scene to a close: "To know my deed, 'twere best not know
                myself/Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!" (II.ii.73-6). 

                Act II, Scene III 
                The knocking at the south entrance grows louder and more frequent. A porter walks
                slowly to open the doors, pondering what it would be like to be the door-keeper of hell.
                Macduff and Lennox are at the doors, arriving to visit King Duncan. Macbeth comes
                down to greet the two noblemen. Overnight he has fully regained his composure and
                pretends that their early morning knocking has awakened him. Macduff proceeds to
                the King's chambers while Lennox tells Macbeth about the fierce storm they
                encountered on their journey to Inverness. In the howling wind they heard 'strange
                screams of death' (II.iii.46), and there were reports of the earth shaking. Macbeth's
                response is ironic and cruelly comical: "Twas a rough night" (II.iii.47). Macduff
                re-enters, screaming that the King has been slain. He tells Lennox that it is a horrible
                and bloody sight, comparing it to Medusa herself. He rings the alaurm bell while
                Macbeth runs to King Duncan's quarters. Macbeth reaches the guards who have been
                awakened by the bell. Before they can proclaim their innocence, Macbeth kills them
                and reports to Macduff that he has murdered Duncan's assassians in a fit of fury. Lady
                Macbeth pretends to collapse in a shock and, while the rest of the men tend to her,
                Malcolm whispers to his brother, Donalbain. The brothers are not as easily deceived
                as the others and they know their lives are in grave danger: "There's daggers in men's
                eyes" Donalbain adds, and they agree to flee Scotland. Malcolm will go to England
                and, to be extra cautious, Donalbain will go to Ireland. 

                Act II, Scene IV 
                In this brief transition scene, an old man reports to Ross the strange omens that have
                coincided with Duncan's murder. Macduff enters and tells Ross that, since the King's
                two sons have fled Scotland, they are presumed to be the masterminds behind their
                father's murder. As a result of their treachery, their claim to the throne is forfeit, and
                Macbeth will be named the new King of the Scots. 

                Act III, Scene I 
                Act III opens at the royal castle on the day of a great feast to celebrate Macbeth's
                coronation. Banquo is the first to enter the great dining hall. The prophecy of the
                Witches races through his mind, and he begins to believe that Macbeth himself was
                responsible for the fulfillment of the Hags' prediction. He thinks upon his own destiny
                as foretold by the Witches. If Macbeth is now king, Banquo is sure to father future
                kings. A trumpet sounds and King Macbeth and his Queen enter the hall with Lennox,
                Ross, and a long parade of servants. Macbeth is very concerned with Banquo's
                activities for the day, and asks him where he plans to go before dinner begins. Banquo
                tells him that he and his son, Fleance, are going to ride on the vast castle grounds in
                the afternoon, but he assures Macbeth he will not miss the feast. Macbeth orders
                everyone to take the afternoon for himself and be 'the master of his time' until seven
                that evening, when the banquet will commence. Everyone rushes off, except Macbeth
                and a servant. He asks the servant to bring in two men that have been waiting at the
                palace gate. Alone for a brief moment, Macbeth reveals his plan to have Banquo and
                Fleance murdered while they are out riding. Killing now comes easier to Macbeth and
                he will gladly slay his friend and his child if it means securing the throne for his own
                lineage. The servant returns with the men whom Macbeth has commissioned to kill
                Banquo and Fleance. Macbeth gives them some final instructions and sends them on
                their way. As the scene comes to a close, we see Macbeth's transformation into a evil
                villain now complete: "It is concluded: Banquo, thy soul's flight/If it find heaven, must
                find it out to-night." (III.i.140-141). 

                Act III, Scene II 
                In another room in the castle, Lady Macbeth orders a servant to find her husband. Lady
                Macbeth is not as happy as she thought she would be as Queen of Scotland, and,
                although she hides it better than Macbeth, the murder is all that she can think about.
                Despite the fact that they now have exactly what they desired, Lady Macbeth
                confesses that they have gained nothing and lost everything by killing Duncan:
                'Nought's had, all's spent' (III.ii.4). Macbeth enters and he too admits to consuming
                feelings of guilt and fear. He laments 'In the affliction of these terrible dreams/That
                shake us nightly: better be with the dead' (III.ii.18-9). Lady Macbeth wants to think of
                other, more pleasant things, and she tells her husband to be happy and enjoy his
                feast. Macbeth informs her that he has decided to kill Banquo and Fleance. She asks
                for details but, to save her from further guilt, Macbeth will not tell her any more: 'Be
                innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck' (III.ii.44-6). 

                Act III, Scene III 
                The two murderers set out to find Banquo and Fleance, riding on the palace grounds.
                A third murderer joins them, sent by Macbeth to ensure the killing is carried out
                according to plan. They hear horses approach. It is Banquo and his son, walking
                toward the stables, talking about the fun of the day. Night has fallen early and they
                carry a lit torch. The First Murderer attacks Banquo but before he dies he cries out to
                Fleance to run away as fast as he can. In the scuffle the torch goes out and Fleance
                successfully escapes into the dark countryside. The murderers know that they have
                left incomplete the more inportant task of killing Banquo's son, but they nonetheless
                head to the castle to report Banquo's death to Macbeth. 

                Act III, Scene IV 
                The banquet is underway in the great hall of the royal palace. Amidst the revellers,
                Macbeth sees the First Murderer and, as inconspicuously as possible, he walks over
                to speak with him. The First Murderer tells him that the blood Macbeth sees upon his
                face is Banquo's and that Fleance has escaped. Macbeth is unhappy with the news
                that Fleance remains alive, but he focuses on the good news of Banquo's death and
                decides to take his place at the dinner table. But Macbeth's seat is already occupied. It
                is Banquo's ghost, and Macbeth is horrified. Before his stunned guests he begins to
                speak to what they believe is an empty chair: "Prithee, see there! behold! look! lo! how
                say you?/Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too" (III.iv.68-70). Lady Macbeth
                tells the guests that Macbeth is suffering from stress, and, when the ghost disappears,
                Macbeth regains his composure. He says that he has a "strange infirmity" and quickly
                calls for more wine and toasts the "general joy of the whole table". Unfortunately,
                Macbeth decides to mention Banquo specifically in the toast, which prompts the
                re-appearance of Banquo's ghost. Macbeth again reacts to the spirit, much to the
                bewilderment of his guests. Lady Macbeth, afraid her husband is losing his mind and
                will reveal their crimes, bids the guests an abrupt goodnight and shuffles them out of
                the hall. When they are alone, Lady Macbeth, who is baffled by Macbeth's behavior,
                tells him that his lack of sleep is causing him to hallucinate. Macbeth insists that he
                must consult the three Weird Sisters to find out what dangers lie in wait. Macbeth and
                his Lady retire to bed and the scene ends with Macbeth's final thought that, because
                he is new to such heinous crime, his conscience is overactive, but he will improve with
                time. As he tells Lady Macbeth: "We are yet but young in deed" (III.iv.146). 

                Act III, Scene V 
                Thunder crashes overtop a lonely heath where the Witches are gathered. Heccate, the
                goddess of witchcraft, scolds the Hags for not including her in their meetings with
                Macbeth. Heccate tells them that they must reassure Macbeth when he comes to visit,
                for she knows that security "Is mortals' chiefest enemy" (III.v.34). 

                Act III, Scene VI 
                In a room in the palace, Lennox and another lord discuss the deaths of Duncan and
                Banquo. Lennox now suspects Macbeth has committed the murders and subtly
                reveals his thoughts in an exceptional speech, noted for its sustained irony. The lord
                also suspects Macbeth, and he tells Lennox that Malcolm has the support of Edward,
                King of England, and that Macduff has since sided with Malcolm and is gathering an
                army as they speak. They hope Malcolm and his troops return as soon as possible to
                help the Scottish rebels overthrow Macbeth. 

                Act IV, Scene I 
                Act IV opens in a dark cave. In the center of the cave a cauldron boils, and around it
                the Witches gather. They cast spells in anticipation of Macbeth's arrival. Macbeth
                enters and the Witches agree to show him what the future has in store. Amidst
                crashes of thunder, three apparitions appear. The first is an armed head, summoned
                to warn Macbeth that Macduff is coming back to Scotland to ruin him. The second
                apparition is a bloody child and it tells Macbeth that no man born of a woman can do
                him harm. This gives Macbeth great confidence: "Then live Macduff: what need I fear
                of thee?" (IV.i.78-80). The third apparition is that of a child wearing a crown and holding
                a tree. It tells Macbeth that: "Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until/Great Birnam
                wood to high Dunsinane hill/Shall come against him" (IV.i.87-90). Macbeth is secure
                that the third apparition's prophecy will never be, for 'who can impress the forest?' or
                'bid the tree unfix his earth-bound roots?' (IV.i.91-3). Macbeth's confidence is restored,
                but one question remains: what of Banquo's prophecy? He asks the Witches if
                Banquo's descendants will still rule Scotland, and in response they summon a vision
                of eight kings. The kings pass over the stage in order; the last holding a glass.
                Banquo's ghost follows behind them, and Macbeth flies into a rage at the Witches who
                have revealed his worst fear. They dance and cackle and vanish into the darkness.
                Lennox enters the cave and Macbeth is worried that he has seen the Witches. But
                Lennox has seen nothing. He tells Macbeth that there are horsemen outside, come to
                report that Macduff has sided with Malcolm who is gathering an army of English
                soldiers. Macbeth decides that he must kill Macduff and his whole family as
                punishment for his betrayal. 

                Act IV, Scene II 
                The scene turns to Macduff's castle where Lady Macduff is livid because her husband
                has left her and their son to go to England. Ross tells her to remain calm, reminding
                her that Macduff is wise and noble, and would not leave lest it was of utmost
                importance. Ross leaves and, in her anger, Lady Macduff tells her son that Macduff is
                dead. But her son is sharp like his father and he challenges her, prompting humorous
                banter between the two. A knock at the door interrupts their conversation. It is a
                messenger who has somehow learned of Macbeth's plan to have Lady Macduff and
                her son murdered. He begs her to flee at once and he runs from the castle in terror.
                Lady Macduff, sure she has done nothing wrong, hesitates to leave. This delay is
                costly indeed, for the murderers arrive and burst through the heavy wooden doors.
                They tell her that her husband is a traitor and one of the murderers grabs her son and
                stabs him, killing him instantly. Lady Macduff runs screaming from the castle, but the
                murderers chase her down and slay her. 

                Act IV, Scene III 
                Macduff has arrived at King Edward's palace in England. Malcolm, however, is
                distrusting of Macbeth because he feels that Macbeth, who was himself once noble
                and trustworthy, has corrupted everyone around him. Malcolm tests Macduff's loyalty
                to him and Scotland by pretending to be a greedy and base prince who will 'cut off the
                noble's from their land' when he gains the Scottish crown. When Macduff morns
                openly for his country that has one evil ruler and another in wait, Malcolm confesses
                that his words were only to test Macduff's commitment to him and Scotland. Ross
                comes from Scotland with the horrible news that Macbeth has murdred Macduff's
                family. Macduff, utterly destroyed by the foulness of the deed, cannot believe it, and
                must ask repeatedly if his wife and child are really dead. Malcolm implores Macduff to
                turn his anguish into anger: "be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief/Convert to
                anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it" (IV.iii.211-13). Macduff vows revenge and they
                leave to gather their troops and head for Scotland. 

                Act V, Scene I 
                With Macbeth busy assembling his men to fight Malcolm, Lady Macbeth is left alone in
                the castle at Dunsinane. When the two were together they could feed off each other's
                strength and prevent one another from dwelling on their crimes. But Macbeth is gone
                and Lady Macbeth is left to brood over the atrocities Macbeth has committed at her
                command. Her guilt and fear follow her even in dreams, and she begins to walk in her
                sleep. Her Gentlewoman has seen her several times rise from her bed. The
                Gentlewoman calls for a doctor who watches for two nights but does not see Lady
                Macbeth come out of her chamber. But, on the third night, he observes Lady Macbeth
                walk down the hall with a lantern, rubbing her hands violently. She reveals the events
                of that gruesome night and utters one of the most famous line in all of literature: "Out,
                damned spot! out, I say!" (V.i.37). The murder of Macduff's family and Banquo also
                weigh heavy on her mind: "The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What, will
                these hands ne'er be clean?" (V.i.44-5). The Doctor is horrified to know the truth and
                he refuses to report to anyone what he has just seen and heard for fear that his own
                life will be in jeopardy. He leaves the castle, knowing that no doctor can cure what ails
                Lady Macbeth: "More needs she the divine than the physician" (V.i.77). 

                Act V, Scene II 
                The action moves to the countryside near Dunsaine where the rebels, led by Lennox
                and Angus, await the English army that will soon arrive. They make plans to meet at
                Birnam Wood and Cathiness, one of the soldiers, tells the others that Macbeth is hold
                up in the royal castle preparing for the attack. 

                Act V, Scene III 
                Macbeth is in his war room awaiting Malcolm and his troops. Because of the three
                apparitions, Macbeth is confident that he will be victorious, and he refuses to hear the
                reports from his generals. The Doctor comes in and Macbeth asks anxiously about his
                wife. The Doctor tells him that she seems troubled and cannot rest. Macbeth orders
                the Doctor to cure her: "Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased/Pluck from the
                memory a rooted sorrow?" (V.iii.40-1). Quite courageously, the Doctor replies,
                "Therein the patient/Must minister to himself" (V.iii.45-6). Macbeth rejects his useless
                answer and angrily calls for his armour. Although we can see Macbeth starting to
                crumble under the mounting pressure, he convinces himself that he is still not afraid of
                defeat "Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane" (V.iii.59-60). 

                Act V, Scene IV 
                Malcolm orders his men to each cut a branch from a tree from Birnam forest to
                provide camouflage as they attack the castle. Malcolm's command to carry the
                boughs signals the true end of Macbeth, for Birnam Wood is moving toward

                Act V, Scene V 
                On the castle walls Macbeth waits, sure that Macduff and Malcolm will die of famine
                before they can penetrate his defense. Suddenly a cry is heard from within the castle.
                Seyton goes to investigate and, when he returns, he tells Macbeth that his wife is
                dead. With the news that he has lost his precious lady, Macbeth resigns himself to the
                futility of life. A messenger enters and reports that he has seen an amazing sight -- the
                woods are moving toward the castle. Macbeth is at first unbelieving and slaps the
                messenger, calling him a 'liar and slave!'. But Macbeth cannot deceive himself any
                longer and he vows that, if he must die, he will die a valiant soldier in battle: 

                     If this which he avouches does appear,
                     There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
                     I'gin to be a-weary of the sun,
                     And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
                     Ring the alarum bell! Blow wind! come wrack!
                     At least we'll die with harness on our back.

                Act V, Scene VI 
                In this very short scene we see Malcolm, Siward, and Macduff gathered with their
                troops on the plain before Macbeth's castle. They throw down their 'leafy screens',
                sound the trumpets, and wage their assault on the royal palace. 

                Act V, Scene VII 
                Macbeth has left the castle to fight Malcolm's army on the battlefield. Although he has
                resigned himself to defeat, he remembers the second apparition. Still convinced that
                he will never meet a man not born from a woman, he regains the hope that it is yet
                possible for him to escape. He meets young Siward who calls him a liar and
                challenges him to fight. Macbeth gladly obliges and, with his skill as a great warrior,
                easily kills the young man. But the noise of the fight attracts Macduff and he runs to
                confront Macbeth. 

                Act V, Scene VIII 
                Macbeth, with his newfound hope and determination, continues to fight Malcolm's
                army. Macduff comes up behind him, demanding that the "hell hound turn" (V.viii.3)
                and fight. Macbeth tells him to leave, for he does not want the blood of another Macduff
                on his hands. Macduff refuses and charges at Macbeth. They fight, and Macbeth
                boasts that he is indestructible: "I bear a charmed life, which must not yield/To one of
                woman born" (V.viii.1203). Macduff reveals that he was not of woman born, but
                'untimely ripped' from his mother's womb. Macbeth realizes that the Witches, in their
                evil trickery, have only helped in his destruction, and he resigns himself to death. Not
                far away, the victorious Malcolm rallies his soldiers. Macduff joins them, carrying the
                head of Macbeth. He hails the new King Malcolm and the King's promise of restoration
                brings the play to a close:

                     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 kinsmen, 
                     Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland 
                     In such an honour named. What's more to do,
                     Which would be planted newly with the time,
                     As calling home our exiled friends abroad 
                     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 
                     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 crown'd at Scone. (V.viii.60-75)
By: Amanda Mabillard