Macbeth sat on a hill, ready to fight anyone who dared come near him. He wasn’t going to fall on his sword like a Roman in his situation would have. Why should he? As long as there were enemies to kill the gashes would look better on them.
He didn’t hear Macduff come up behind him.
‘Turn, hell-hound, turn!’
Macbeth turned. ‘Of all men I’ve avoided you,’ he said. ‘But go away. My soul is too heavy with your family’s blood already.’
‘I’ve nothing to say,’ said Macduff. ‘My sword is my tongue. You bloodier devil than words can describe!’
‘You’re wasting your time. It’ll be easier to dent the air with your sharp sword than draw my blood. Save your sword for vulnerable chests. My life is charmed. I can’t be killed by anyone who wasn’t born of a woman.’ Macbeth turned and began walking away.
‘Forget your charm,’ said Macduff. ‘And tell the evil spirit who told you that that Macduff was pulled prematurely from his mother’s womb.’
Macbeth whipped round. ‘Curse the tongue that tells me that,’ he said, ‘Because it strikes fear into my heart. And curse these cheating fiends who keep their promises in small things and deny us our greatest hopes. I won’t fight with you.’
‘Then give yourself up, coward, and live – to be a public spectacle. We’ll advertise you, as we do with our more unusual freaks, with a sign hung from a pole: ‘Here you can see they tyrant.’
‘I won’t give up to kiss the ground beneath young Malcolm’s feet and then be jeered at by the common rabble.’ Macbeth drew his sword. ‘Even though Birnam Wood has come to Dunsinane and I’m facing a man not born of woman I’ll fight to the bitter end. Come on, Macduff. And damned be the one who first cries, ‘stop – no more!”
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