Macbeth Act 5 Short Summary

Scene 1

In Macbeth’s castle, a doctor and a gentlewoman are talking about Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking. The doctor wants to know what she talks then but the gentlewoman denies.

Lady Macbeth enters with a candle while acting like washing her hands. Her guilty conscience reveals secrets through her murmurs. The Doctor and the gentlewoman witness her gradual descent into madness while she leaves for her bed.

Scene 2 

In a country near Dunsinane Menteith, Angus, Lennox and few other Lords discuss the approaching English Army. Menteith addresses Macbeth as “the tyrant” and they talk about how he is preparing madly in Dunsinane for the battle. Angus speaks of his undeserving title which is now sustained only by fear, not love.

Scene 3 

Macbeth enters with the Doctor and servants. He is overly confident of his invincibility because of the sure prophecy made by the three witches. 

Seyton, his attendant confirms the report of the gathering army and Macbeth asks for his armour even though it’s not needed right then. The doctor tells him about Lady Macbeth’s illness and Macbeth orders him to cure her of that. Macbeth reiterates his promised security. 

Scene 4 

Near Birnam wood, Malcolm says to Lord Siward that each soldier should cut down a bough from the wood of Birnam and keep it before him while moving closer to the battlefield so that there will be errors on the enemy part in calculating their numbers of soldiers. 

Scene 5

Macbeth orders to hang banners on the outer walls and brags how the enemy will suffer outside and will be repealed by itself. Seyton delivers the message regarding the death of Lady Macbeth.

It jolts Macbeth and famously he soliloquised of the nature of life which is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury while signifying nothing. A messenger delivers the shocking news of the Birnam Wood moving toward Dunsinane. Macbeth remembers the prophecy and decides to die while fighting.

Scene 6

The battle begins outside the castle. Malcolm and Macduff are on the battlefield and Malcolm orders Seyward and his son to lead the first battle.

Scene 7

Macbeth is still confident of the last prophecy which is that no woman born shall ever kill him so he should be afraid of nobody. He kills Young Siward.

Scene 8

Macduff enters the battlefield and searches for Macbeth and they fight. Macbeth boasts that no woman born can ever kill him and Macduff reveals that he was untimely brought out from his mother’s womb and he finally kills Macbeth.

Ross conveys to Siward of his son’s manly death. Macduff enters with Macbeth’s head and hails Malcolm as the King of Scotland. Malcolm thanks everyone, calls for exiled ones to return to their homeland and invites them for the crowning ceremony at Scone.