Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}


Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

Hello Friend, In this post “Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5 Full Summary“, we will read about the Summary Of Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5 in detail. So…

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Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5 Full Summary | Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5 Summary

Macbeth is talking to some of his soldiers, and Seyton is listening. Macbeth tells the soldiers to hang his flags from the castle’s outer walls.

Macbeth says everyone keeps crying out, “They come!” He says his castle is so strong that it can laugh at a siege. (Macbeth believes enemy soldiers can surround the castle, but they cannot enter it. He uses personification, speaking about a non-human castle as if it is a person who can laugh.)

Note: The pictures of Scottish castles in these video summaries show the wooden castles which historians believe existed in Scotland in the 11th century, not the stone castles which existed in Shakespeare’s later time. The flag represents the Macbeth clan.

Macbeth says the enemy soldiers can stay outside the castle until “famine and the ague eat them up” (until hunger and disease kill them).

Macbeth says he and his soldiers would have gone out to fight the enemy soldiers “beard to beard” (face to face), but many of his soldiers had gone to join the enemy. Macbeth says if all of his soldiers had stayed, they could have made the enemy soldiers return to their homes.

Macbeth hears something and asks, “What is that noise?” Seyton says the noise is the sound of women crying. He goes out of the room to learn what the problem is.

Macbeth says that he has almost forgotten what fear tastes like (feels like). He says there had been a time when a cry at night would have frightened him, and a story full of trouble would have made the hair on his skin stand up as if it were alive.

Macbeth says that now he has eaten “with horrors” and is full of them. Macbeth says he now knows all about bad things because of his own murderous thoughts, so bad things no longer surprise or alarm him.

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Seyton returns. Macbeth asks why the women were crying. Seyton says, “The queen, my lord, is dead.

Macbeth begins one of the most famous speeches in literature. It is a soliloquy (a speech where people speak their thoughts aloud, not a speech to another person or character). He says She should have died hereafter.

There would have been a time for such a word.” (It would have been better if his wife had died later when he was not preparing to fight against Malcolm and Siward. Then he would have had time to react to the word of his wife’s death; he would have been able to think about his sadness at losing her forever.)

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Macbeth continues to speak, thinking about the meaning and purpose of life. He says, “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, 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.”

Note: Macbeth is saying that each day comes slowly and quietly, at an unimportant rate up to the end of the time of humans.

He says that all of the days which have passed have lit or guided foolish humans to their dusty deaths. (Every day brings humans closer to their deaths.)

Note: What does Macbeth believe about life after death? In Act 3, Scene 1, Macbeth said Banquo and Fleance had to die because, by killing King Duncan, Macbeth had given away his “eternal jewel” (his immortal soul).

Macbeth decided to murder Banquo and Fleance because he had already made his choice to murder to become king and to give up his place in heaven and to go to hell.

Macbeth thinks killing Banquo and Fleance is the only way for him to remain the King of Scotland and to stop Banquo’s descendants from becoming kings.

Macbeth can only have earthly power because he has given his soul to the dark powers of the witches and has turned his back on God.

Macbeth continues his famous speech about life and 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, Signifying nothing.”

Note: Macbeth says that life has no meaning. Life is so weak and so short that it is like a candle: a candle’s light does not last long, and it can easily go out. Life on earth is like a shadow. It has no strength or power.

It is like an actor. A person’s life has no more importance than the actor’s performance on a stage. The actor “struts” (walks) around for an hour and “frets” (worries), but when the play is over, the character’s life ends and nothing important is lost. Life, says Macbeth, is a story told by an idiot (God?).

The story of life has a lot of sound and anger, but it means nothing. (Macbeth may be trying to make himself feel better about the lives he has taken.)

A messenger comes in, and Macbeth says the man has come in to use his tongue (has come in to tell Macbeth something). Macbeth tells him to tell his story quickly.

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The messenger says he should report what he has seen, but he does not know how to do it. Macbeth tells the messenger to say what
he has seen.

The messenger says that as he was standing on a hill looking towards Birnam Wood, the trees looked like they were moving; the whole forest was moving.

Macbeth says, “Liar and slave!” The messenger says that Macbeth can say and do what he wants to the messenger if he is not saying the truth. The messenger says Macbeth can see the forest, the trees, are now only three miles or less away.

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Macbeth tells the messenger that if he is lying, Macbeth will hang him from a tree until the messenger dies from hunger. Macbeth says if the messenger is telling the truth, he can hang Macbeth from a tree.

Macbeth tells himself that he is losing his courage, his bravery. He says the evil spirits had equivocated (misled him).

Macbeth says when the witches had called the spirits out of the cauldron, one had said Macbeth had nothing to fear until Birnam Wood came to Macbeth’s castle at Dunsinane.

Macbeth, knowing that trees cannot walk, had believed the “fiend” the evil spirit, had been telling Macbeth that there was nothing to fear.

Now, says Macbeth, Birnam Wood has come to Dunsinane. (Macbeth now thinks the evil spirits have tricked him, and he may lose the battle, his throne, and his life.)

Macbeth tells the soldiers to take their weapons and prepare to fight. Macbeth says if the messenger is telling the truth, there is no purpose in running away or in staying in the castle.

Macbeth tells himself that he is tired “of the sun” and wishes the “world were now undone.” (He means he is tired of living and wants the world to end.)

Macbeth tells the soldiers to ring the alarm bell. He says the wind can blow and destruction may come, but at least they will die with their armor on. Everyone leaves.

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