3Lady Macbeth has been driven mad by her sins (her guilt). She stays in her bed, rising only to sleepwalk and sleepwash, as it were.
4In her sleep, she washes her hands over and over, crying “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!” (5.1.36). She talks to herself, and within earshot of her maid and a doctor, she reveals her complicity in the murders.
5Macduff and Malcolm, with the English army, gather at Birnam Wood. Other Scottish lords join them to fight Macbeth’s tyranny.
6Inside his castle, Macbeth prepares for battle, “sick at heart,” but nonetheless vowing to fight until his “flesh is hacked” from his bones.Those who stay with Macbeth do so only because of Macbeth’s command, not out of love for the tyrannical, murderous king.
7Macbeth disregards the news of the opposing army. He learns that his wife is dead, too, probably driven to take her own life (but we are never clearly told this).
8“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Macbeth delivers the famous soliloquy:“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, andtomorrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day today,To the last syllable of recorded time;And all our yesterdays have lightedfoolsThe way to dusty death. Out, out,brief candle!Life’s but a walking shadow, a poorplayer,That struts and frets his hour uponthe stage,And then is heard no more. It is ataleTold by an idiot, full of sound andfury,Signifying nothing.”
9Nonetheless, Macbeth is resolute. He is confident that the forest cannot move, and that every man must be born of woman, so he thinks that he has nothing to worry about.
10Malcolm orders his soldiers to cut boughs from the forest to camouflage themselves and obscure their numbers.Carrying the boughs before them, they march toward Macbeth’s army, which sits on Dunsinane Hill.
11A messenger tells Macbeth something that seems unbelievable: “…I looked toward Birnam, and anon, methought, The wood began to move.”Malcolm’s soldiers are using tree boughs as camouflage.
12The scouts report this to Macbeth, who immediately sees how this affects the prophecy. Birnam Wood is coming to Dunsinane Hill.
13Macbeth raises the alarm and prepares to fight a battle that he now knows he will lose. One prophecy remains unfulfilled: Macbeth cannot die except at the hands of one who was not born of woman.
14On the battle field, Macbeth kills Young Siward. Old Siward tells Malcolm that Macbeth will be forced to surrender without much fight since his men have defected to the other side.
15In the field, Macbeth confronts and challenges Macduff. Macbeth warns Macduff that Macduff is wasting time fighting because Macbeth leads “a charmed life” and cannot be defeated by “one of woman born.”
16He remains confident until he faces Macduff, who reveals he was not born normally, but was “Untimely ripped from his mother’s womb” ( ) – a Caesarian delivery when such procedures were uncommon and considered unnatural.
17Despite the fact that the conditions of his defeat as foretold in the prophecies have arrived, Macbeth vows to fight to the end.Placing his shield before him, Macbeth challenges Macduff, “lay on, Macduff; And damned be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’”
18Macbethvalientlytries todefy theprophecy,but hecannotandMacduffkills him.Malcolm, Old Siward, Ross, and their army enter Macbeth’s castle victoriously.
19Macduff enters carrying Macbeth’s head. Macduff hails Malcolm as king, points to Macbeth’s head, and announces that “the time is free.”
20Giving thanks to all and inviting them to his coronation, Malcolm ends the play. Order has been restored.
22In the play Banquo’s son doesn’t become king, but we have every reason to believe that this would happen in the future. This would please James I, for whom ‘Macbeth’ was written, because it implies that he is the descendant of such a good man.