The Tragedy of MacBeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 4

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1607
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Source: Richard Grant White, ed. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (New York: Sully and Kleinteich)
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 11.0
  • Word Count: 203
  • Genre: Tragedy
  • Keywords: betrayal, envy, murder, power, revenge, tragedy
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SCENE. Country near Birnam wood.

(Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers, marching)

Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
That chambers will be safe.

We doubt it nothing.

What wood is this before us?

The wood of Birnam.

Let every soldier hew him down a bough
And bear't before him: thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host and make discovery
Err in report of us.

It shall be done.

We learn no other but the confident tyrant
Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure
Our setting down before 't.

'Tis his main hope:
For where there is advantage to be given,
Both more and less have given him the revolt,
And none serve with him but constrained things
Whose hearts are absent too.

Let our just censures
Attend the true event, and put we on
Industrious soldiership.

The time approaches
That will with due decision make us know
What we shall say we have and what we owe.
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
But certain issue strokes must arbitrate:
Towards which advance the war.
(Exeunt, marching)