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Macbeth. English 10 Act V. Scene 1. At Macbeth's castle, a gentlewoman (Lady Macbeth's servant) speaks to a doctor about Lady Macbeth's strange suspicious behavior.  While the two are talking, they suddenly observe Lady Macbeth sleepwalking. 

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macbeth

Macbeth

English 10

Act V

scene 1
Scene 1

At Macbeth's castle, a gentlewoman (Lady Macbeth's servant) speaks to a doctor about Lady Macbeth's strange suspicious behavior.  While the two are talking, they suddenly observe Lady Macbeth sleepwalking. 

Lady Macbeth vigorously rubs her hands, as if trying to wash away a stain of some sort. She is trying to wash the blood of all those killed by Macbeth that still lies on her hands after the death of the beloved King Duncan. Lady Macbeth now has a conscience and is feeling extreme guilt that has driven her to insanity.

Lady Macbeth sighs, weeps and mutters about the Thane of Fife and Banquo.  The doctor and the gentlewoman are shocked-Lady Macbeth has inadvertently revealed the source of her distress.  Again, lady Macbeth sleepwalks and has nightmares because Macbeth has "murdered sleep."

scene 2
Scene 2

The noblemen Menteith, Caithness, Angus and Lennox rally the soldiers. 

Menteith reports that Malcolm, Siward, Macduff and the English army are nearby at Birnam Wood and will join them shortly. 

Caithness informs the group that Macbeth is busy fortifying his castle.  Macbeth does not seem worried about the impending attack of Malcom’s army and because of this fact, the men march on to Birnam Wood in search of Malcolm and Macduff.

scene 3
Scene 3

In his castle, Macbeth is overconfident in his victory.  He knows that he cannot be defeated until "Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane" (Act 5, Scene 3, Line 2) and a man "not of woman born" will be the only man able to kill him. 

Thus, he does not fear the fast-approaching Malcolm and his men.  A servant tells Macbeth that there are ten thousand English soldiers directly outside of the castle.  Macbeth dismisses the servant's fear and rashly decides to ride outside and fight. 

The doctor enters and tells him that Lady Macbeth is very ill.  He says that he is unable to treat her because her ailment is purely mental, not physical.Macbeth becomes enraged with the doctor’s claim saying that he must cure Lady Macbeth of her illness.

scene 4
Scene 4

Malcolm, Siward, Macduff and the English forces have met up with Menteith, Angus, Caithness and the Scottish soldiers.  Malcolm orders each man to chop down a tree bough from Birnam Wood and carry it until they reach Macbeth's castle.  He says that this will hide their true numbers until they are ready to attack. 

Thus, Birnam Wood is traveling towards Dunsinane -part of the witches' prophecy has come true and Macbeth is doomed.  Siward reports to the group that Macbeth remains confident in his castle at Dunsinane.  The now combined Scottish-English army continues to march towards Macbeth's domain.

scene 5
Scene 5

Inside the castle, Macbeth prepares to do battle with Malcolm and Macduff.  He learns that Lady Macbeth has committed suicide and hardly mourns her death.  He is hardened by his newfound life as a criminal and is thus devoid of all proper emotion and compassion for his wife. 

A messenger interrupts Macbeth's short period of grief and loss and tells him that he saw the trees of Birnam Wood moving towards the castle.  In reality, this is Malcolm's army carrying the trees before itself.  Not believing what the messenger says, Macbeth looks out the window to verify his statement.  To his horror, the messenger is right.  He resolves to fight Malcolm and Macduff anyway and die honorably. Macbeth knows he will now fall per the witches prophesy.

scene 6
Scene 6

The rebel army has reached Macbeth's castle at Dunsinane.  Malcolm orders Siward and his son to lead the men into the castle.  Malcolm and Macduff will remain behind to direct the remainder of their army.

scene 7
Scene 7

Macbeth has been found by Siward’s young son.  Siward's young son approaches Macbeth and tries to duel with him.  Siward compares Macbeth to being named worse then the devil. Macbeth promptly kills Young Siward after he asks him if he is not born of woman.

Macduff then enters the castle, followed by Siward.  Macduff wants to find and kill Macbeth so that his wife and children's ghosts will not haunt him. The two roam the hallways, looking for the guilty Macbeth.

scene 8
Scene 8

Macduff finally meets up with Macbeth and the two duel.  Macbeth tells Macduff that he does not fear anyone who was born of woman.  Macduff, however, tells Macbeth that he was "from his mother's womb untimely ripped." (Act 5, Scene 8, Lines 15-16) This means that Macduff was removed from his mother's womb via a cesarean section, and was not technically "born of a woman." (Act 4, Scene 1, Line 80) Macduff kills Macbeth and returns to Malcolm with his head lanced onto a pole. 

Siward learns that his young son is dead.  All of the men hail Malcolm as the rightful heir to the throne.

Malcolm proclaims that he will reward all of his followers by making them earls.  In addition, he orders that everyone who fled Scotland in fear of Macbeth return to enjoy better times under his reign.  With a royal flourish, he also invites everyone to come to his coronation at Scone.