This page contains the original text of Act 5 of Macbeth. Shakespeare’s original Macbeth text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Act per page. All Acts are listed on the Macbeth text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
MACBETH ACT V, SCENE 1. Dunsinane. Ante-room in the castle.
Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewoman
I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive
no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?
Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen
her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon
her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it,
write upon’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again
return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.
A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once
the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of
watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her
walking and other actual performances, what, at any
time, have you heard her say?
That, sir, which I will not report after her.
You may to me: and ’tis most meet you should.
Neither to you nor any one; having no witness to
confirm my speech.
Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper
Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise;
and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
How came she by that light?
Why, it stood by her: she has light by her
continually; ’tis her command.
You see, her eyes are open.
Ay, but their sense is shut.
What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.
It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands: I have known her continue in
this a quarter of an hour.
Yet here’s a spot.
Hark! she speaks: I will set down what comes from
her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
Out, damned spot! out, I say!–One: two: why,
then, ’tis time to do’t.–Hell is murky!–Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account?–Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.
Do you mark that?
The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?–
What, will these hands ne’er be clean?–No more o’
that, my lord, no more o’ that: you mar all with
Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.
She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of
that: heaven knows what she has known.
Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh, oh, oh!
What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
dignity of the whole body.
Well, well, well,–
Pray God it be, sir.
This disease is beyond my practise: yet I have known
those which have walked in their sleep who have died
holily in their beds.
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.
To bed, to bed! there’s knocking at the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s
done cannot be undone.–To bed, to bed, to bed!
Will she go now to bed?
Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night:
My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
I think, but dare not speak.
Good night, good doctor.
SCENE II. The country near Dunsinane.
Drum and colours. Enter MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, and Soldiers
The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
His uncle Siward and the good Macduff:
Revenges burn in them; for their dear causes
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm
Excite the mortified man.
Near Birnam wood
Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming.
Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?
For certain, sir, he is not: I have a file
Of all the gentry: there is Siward’s son,
And many unrough youths that even now
Protest their first of manhood.
What does the tyrant?
Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies:
Some say he’s mad; others that lesser hate him
Do call it valiant fury: but, for certain,
He cannot buckle his distemper’d cause
Within the belt of rule.
Now does he feel
His secret murders sticking on his hands;
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
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.
Who then shall blame
His pester’d senses to recoil and start,
When all that is within him does condemn
Itself for being there?
Well, march we on,
To give obedience where ’tis truly owed:
Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal,
And with him pour we in our country’s purge
Each drop of us.
Or so much as it needs,
To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.
Make we our march towards Birnam.
SCENE III. Dunsinane. A room in the castle.
Enter MACBETH, Doctor, and Attendants
Bring me no more reports; let them fly all:
Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane,
I cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm?
Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know
All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:
‘Fear not, Macbeth; no man that’s born of woman
Shall e’er have power upon thee.’ Then fly,
And mingle with the English epicures:
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.
Enter a Servant
The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where got’st thou that goose look?
There is ten thousand–
Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver’d boy. What soldiers, patch?
Death of thy soul! those linen cheeks of thine
Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?
The English force, so please you.
Take thy face hence.
Seyton!–I am sick at heart,
When I behold–Seyton, I say!–This push
Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now.
I have lived long enough: my way of life
Is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. Seyton!
What is your gracious pleasure?
What news more?
All is confirm’d, my lord, which was reported.
I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hack’d.
Give me my armour.
‘Tis not needed yet.
I’ll put it on.
Send out more horses; skirr the country round;
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armour.
How does your patient, doctor?
Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick coming fancies,
That keep her from her rest.
Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it.
Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff.
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me.
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease,
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again.–Pull’t off, I say.–
What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug,
Would scour these English hence? Hear’st thou of them?
Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation
Makes us hear something.
Bring it after me.
I will not be afraid of death and bane,
Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.
[Aside] Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,
Profit again should hardly draw me here.
SCENE IV. Country near Birnam wood.
Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers, marching
Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
That chambers will be safe.
We doubt it nothing.
What wood is this before us?
The wood of Birnam.
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.
It shall be done.
We learn no other but the confident tyrant
Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure
Our setting down before ‘t.
‘Tis his main hope:
For where there is advantage to be given,
Both more and less have given him the revolt,
And none serve with him but constrained things
Whose hearts are absent too.
Let our just censures
Attend the true event, and put we on
The time approaches
That will with due decision make us know
What we shall say we have and what we owe.
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
But certain issue strokes must arbitrate:
Towards which advance the war.
SCENE V. Dunsinane. Within the castle.
Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers, with drum and colours
Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
The cry is still ‘They come:’ our castle’s strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie
Till famine and the ague eat them up:
Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.
A cry of women within
What is that noise?
It is the cry of women, my good lord.
I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.
Wherefore was that cry?
The queen, my lord, is dead.
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
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,
Enter a Messenger
Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.
Gracious my lord,
I should report that which I say I saw,
But know not how to do it.
Well, say, sir.
As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look’d toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.
Liar and slave!
Let me endure your wrath, if’t be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.
If thou speak’st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: ‘Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane:’ and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I gin to be aweary 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.
SCENE VI. Dunsinane. Before the castle.
Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD, MACDUFF, and their Army, with boughs
Now near enough: your leafy screens throw down.
And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle,
Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son,
Lead our first battle: worthy Macduff and we
Shall take upon ‘s what else remains to do,
According to our order.
Fare you well.
Do we but find the tyrant’s power to-night,
Let us be beaten, if we cannot fight.
Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath,
Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.
SCENE VII. Another part of the field.
Alarums. Enter MACBETH
They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But, bear-like, I must fight the course. What’s he
That was not born of woman? Such a one
Am I to fear, or none.
Enter YOUNG SIWARD
What is thy name?
Thou’lt be afraid to hear it.
No; though thou call’st thyself a hotter name
Than any is in hell.
My name’s Macbeth.
The devil himself could not pronounce a title
More hateful to mine ear.
No, nor more fearful.
Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword
I’ll prove the lie thou speak’st.
They fight and YOUNG SIWARD is slain
Thou wast born of woman
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,
Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born.
Alarums. Enter MACDUFF
That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!
If thou be’st slain and with no stroke of mine,
My wife and children’s ghosts will haunt me still.
I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
Are hired to bear their staves: either thou, Macbeth,
Or else my sword with an unbatter’d edge
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;
By this great clatter, one of greatest note
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune!
And more I beg not.
Enter MALCOLM and SIWARD
This way, my lord; the castle’s gently render’d:
The tyrant’s people on both sides do fight;
The noble thanes do bravely in the war;
The day almost itself professes yours,
And little is to do.
We have met with foes
That strike beside us.
Enter, sir, the castle.
SCENE VIII. Another part of the field.
Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
On mine own sword? whiles I see lives, the gashes
Do better upon them.
Turn, hell-hound, turn!
Of all men else I have avoided thee:
But get thee back; my soul is too much charged
With blood of thine already.
I have no words:
My voice is in my sword: thou bloodier villain
Than terms can give thee out!
Thou losest labour:
As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed:
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield,
To one of woman born.
Despair thy charm;
And let the angel whom thou still hast served
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb
Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
For it hath cow’d 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.
Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o’ the time:
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
‘Here may you see the tyrant.’
I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet,
And to be baited with the rabble’s curse.
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’
Exeunt, fighting. Alarums
Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colours, MALCOLM, SIWARD, ROSS, the other Thanes, and Soldiers
I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.
Some must go off: and yet, by these I see,
So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt:
He only lived but till he was a man;
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm’d
In the unshrinking station where he fought,
But like a man he died.
Then he is dead?
Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow
Must not be measured by his worth, for then
It hath no end.
Had he his hurts before?
Ay, on the front.
Why then, God’s soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so, his knell is knoll’d.
He’s worth more sorrow,
And that I’ll spend for him.
He’s worth no more
They say he parted well, and paid his score:
And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.
Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH’s head
Hail, king! for so thou art: behold, where stands
The usurper’s cursed head: the time is free:
I see thee compass’d with thy kingdom’s pearl,
That speak my salutation in their minds;
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine:
Hail, King of Scotland!
Hail, King of Scotland!
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.
END OF PLAY