Shakespeare’s Macbeth – Act 5

Act 5, Scene 1:

Characters: Doctor, Gentlewoman, Lady Macbeth

Location: Dunsinane,  a room in the castle.

Events: Lady Macbeth has become crazy and now, every night, she sleepwalks around the house. Tonight, the doctor and a gentlewoman are watching her spectacle. She feels guilty for the murders of Lady Macduff and her children. She appears to be “washing the blood off her hands” and believes that no amount of scrubbing will make it come off. The people witnessing the conversation are horrified because they have learned something they shouldn’t have, that she has killed several people before. They can now assume that the death of Duncan was at the hands of Lady Macbeth and her husband, Macbeth. 

Quote:

Lady Macbeth: “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!” This quote is similar to the one spoken by Macbeth earlier in the play after he killed Duncan, when he was consumed by the guilt of his sin. He believed that no matter how much washing of his hands he could do, his hands would never become clean. This is funny because Lady Macbeth shamed Macbeth for his cowardice and guilt following the death of Macbeth.

Macbeths quote (earlier in the play): Will all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands? No, instead my hands will stain the seas scarlet, turning the green waters red.

Lady Macbeth: “Out damned spot! Out,  I say”

Act 5, Scene 2:

Characters: Menteith, Angus, Caithness, Lennox

Location: Dunsinane, a room in the castle.

Events: Malcolm, leading the English army, are marching to meet with the Scottish army to fight Macbeth. Macbeth is rapidly trying to get his military forces under control and organised as the imminent battle approaches. 

Quote: 

Cathness: “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 distempered cause, Within the belt of rule.”

Act 5, Scene 3:

Characters: Macbeth, Servant, Seyton, Doctor. 

Location: Dunsinane, a room in the castle. 

Events: The English army, led by Malcolm, and Scottish rebels are gathering in Birnam Wood preparing to fight Macbeth. Macbeth, meanwhile, is in his castle nearby and does not hold any fear due to the prophecy previously given to him by the witches, that none of woman born can kill him. He hears from his servant that an army 10,000 strong are gathering against him, and he asks for his amour, adamant that he will stand and fight until the flesh is hacked off his bones if it comes to that. They also speak of Lady Macbeth and her current unstable state of mind, and Macbeth asks the doctor to cure his wife. 

Quotes

Macbeth: If thou couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease,
Macbeth referring to the trouble that is plaguing his kingdom, yet he fails to recognise that he his at the heart of his countries problems. 
Act 5, Scene 4:
Characters:
Location:
Events:
Quotes:
Macbeth: 
She should have died hereafter.
There would have been a time for such a word.
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. 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.
Talking fo despair. He has everything he could possibly want, even though his wife has died. He now belives his life to have no meaning. (May use for soliloquy.) 

 

 

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