Act V - Scene VII

[Another part of the field.]

Enter Macbeth.

They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But bear-like I must fight the course. What's he
That was not born of woman? Such a one
Am I to fear, or none.

Enter young Siward.

What is thy name?(5)
Thou'lt be afraid to hear it.
No, though thou call'st thyself a hotter name
Than any is in hell.
My name's Macbeth.
The devil himself could not pronounce a title(10)
More hateful to mine ear.
No, nor more fearful.
Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword
I'll prove the lie thou speak'st.

[They] fight, and young Siward slain.

Thou wast born of woman.(15)
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,
Brandish'd by man that's of a woman born.


Alarums. Enter Macduff.

That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!
If thou beest slain and with no stroke of mine,
My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still.(20)
I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
Are hired to bear their staves. Either thou, Macbeth,
Or else my sword, with an unbatter'd edge,
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;
By this great clatter, one of greatest note(25)
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune!
And more I beg not.

Exit. Alarums.

Enter Malcolm and Siward.

This way, my lord; the castle's gently render'd.
The tyrant's people on both sides do fight,
The noble thanes do bravely in the war;
The day almost itself professes yours,
And little is to do.
We have met with foes
That strike beside us.
Enter, sir, the castle.

Exeunt. Alarum.


  1. That is, the castle has surrendered without much fight. Siward's statements here suggest that many of Macbeth's soldiers either deserted and ran away or simply laid down their arms against Malcolm's army.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. While he can't see Macbeth, Macduff recognizes where he is by the sound of the heavy battle raging around him. The fighting against Macbeth is strongest with, as Siward says below, the rest of the fighting not being taken very seriously.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. As mentioned in the first act of the play, Kerns were lightly armed Irish or Scottish mercenaries who fought with swords, bows, and carried wooden shields. Macduff considers them wretched because they are mercenaries; that is, their honor and loyalty can be bought. This sentiment further reinforces Macduff as an honorable man, sparing his own wrath for Macbeth instead of others.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Bear-baiting was an Elizabethan "sport" or pastime in which a bear was tied to a stake and harassed by dogs. Macbeth uses this metaphor to describe his own condition: he finds it impossible to escape from the superior number of enemies and compares himself to the baited bear. Despite this, he continues to fight against all odds, holding faith in the witches' other prophesy that said no man born of woman may harm Macbeth.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor