Act V - Scene III

[Dunsinane. A room in the castle.]

Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants.

Bring me no more reports; let them fly all!
Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane
I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm?
Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know
All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:(5)
“Fear not, Macbeth; no man that's born of woman
Shall e'er have power upon thee.” Then fly, false thanes,
And mingle with the English epicures!
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.(10)

Enter a Servant.

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where got'st thou that goose look?
There is ten thousand—
Geese, villain?
Soldiers, sir.(15)
Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch?
Death of thy soul! Those linen cheeks of thine
Are counselors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?
The English force, so please you.(20)
Take thy face hence.
Seyton—I am sick at heart,
When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This push
Will cheer me ever or disseat me now.
I have lived long enough. My way of life(25)
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf,
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath,(30)
Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.

Enter Seyton.

What's your gracious pleasure?
What news more?
All is confirm'd, my lord, which was reported.(35)
I'll fight, ’til from my bones my flesh be hack'd.
Give me my armor.
’Tis not needed yet.
I'll put it on.
Send out more horses, skirr the country round,(40)
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armor.
How does your patient, doctor?
Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies,
That keep her from her rest.(45)
Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote(50)
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
Throw physic to the dogs, I'll none of it.(55)
Come, put mine armor on; give me my staff.
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me.
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,(60)
I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again. Pull't off, I say.
What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug
Would scour these English hence? Hear'st thou of them?
Ay, my good lord: your royal preparation(65)
Makes us hear something.
Bring it after me.
I will not be afraid of death and bane
Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.
Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit(70)
again should hardly draw me here.



  1. Since Macbeth called for his armor, several parts of his dialogue have alluded to stage action: "Come, put mine armor on"; "Come, sir, dispatch";"Pull't off, I say." In addition to providing stage directions in dialogue, Shakespeare also helps craft a scene illustrating how restless Macbeth is.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. Macbeth declares that this approaching battle will forever give him peace of mind or remove him from the throne. The use of the word "push" here adds to the finality of the statement; that the English forces have one opportunity to dethrone Macbeth.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. A "goose look" is a look of foolish fear. Consider the irony in this statement: Macbeth asks the servant why he has this look of fear on his face, and Macbeth doesn't realize that he himself is the source of such fear.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. This word represents a characteristically Scottish term of abuse. Generally, it means someone who is considered a worthless person. Notice the other insults Macbeth hurls at his servant and how they contribute to the overall image of his character in this scene.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. Since he follows this word with "let them fly all," Macbeth's reports detail the revolt of his subjects. Notice how different his attitude is in this scene: no longer does he worry about threats or troubled sleep; his stubborn belief in the witches' prophesies have reinforced his will to fight to the end.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  6. An "epicure" is someone who takes pleasure in fine food and drink. Macbeth, a hardy Scotsman, uses this word as an insult to express how he despises the extravagant and luxurious manners of the English.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. The Doctor is completely terrified. Based on what he knows about Lady Macbeth's secrets and the treatment he's received from Macbeth, he simply wants to get away from Dunsinane, and nothing will induce him to come back again, not even a large profit.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  8. This is very subtle. When the Doctor says that the patient must minister to himself or herself, he obviously does not mean by prescribing his own medications, but rather the patient must minister themselves by confession, prayer, and repentance. And when Macbeth says he won't take physic, he really means that he won't repent or confess or pray. 

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  9. A lily is a white flower, and in this context "white" means "bloodless." Since the liver was thought to be a source of courage, the combination of these two words create an insult that means "cowardly."

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  10. The character of Seyton exists primarily to convey information to Macbeth (and to the audience). Seyton seems like a cool customer who is unflappable in his dealings with Macbeth—who is acting more and more like a homicidal lunatic. Seyton seems loyal but not sympathetic and his impeccable coolness serves as a contrast to the frantic behavior and wild utterances of his royal master.

    — William Delaney
  11. Macbeth is a good soldier and a good leader of soldiers, but he is an incompetent king. Shakespeare seems to be showing his audience that Macbeth feels more comfortable in armor than in a royal robe. Recall how in the previous scene Angus said Macbeth's title did not fit him. The armor gives Macbeth some feeling of security because it "fits" him, physically and temperamentally. It also foreshadows the decisive battle that is about to take place.

    — William Delaney
  12. Putting on his armor will inform the audience that Macbeth intends to take an active role in the fighting. Shakespeare seems to be trying to gain a little sympathy for Macbeth here by showing that at least he is a courageous man who has the audacity to keep fighting even when he knows he is bound to lose. We have to admire a mere mortal who has the courage to fight against Fate itself.

    — William Delaney
  13. Here, Macbeth is considering all that he has given up as a man, things that would have been his as he grew older: titles, homage, and close friendships that grow closer with a lifetime of shared experiences. However, his choices have given him a "sear" (withered and dry) life with no opportunities for these other things.

    — Jamie Wheeler