Print Friendly, PDF & Email


ACT V SCENE VIIAnother part of the field.
[Alarums. Enter MACBETH]
MACBETHThey 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.
YOUNG SIWARDWhat is thy name?
MACBETHThou’lt be afraid to hear it.
YOUNG SIWARDNo; though thou call’st thyself a hotter name
Than any is in hell.
MACBETHMy name’s Macbeth.
YOUNG SIWARDThe devil himself could not pronounce a title
More hateful to mine ear.
MACBETHNo, nor more fearful.
YOUNG SIWARDThou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword10
I’ll prove the lie thou speak’st.
[They fight and YOUNG SIWARD is slain]
MACBETHThou wast born of woman
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,
Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born.
[Alarums. Enter MACDUFF]
MACDUFFThat way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!
If thou be’st slain and with no stroke of mine,
My wife and children’s ghosts will haunt me still.
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;20
By this great clatter, one of greatest note
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune!
And more I beg not.
[Exit. Alarums]
SIWARDThis 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.
MALCOLMWe have met with foes
That strike beside us.
SIWARDEnter, sir, the castle.
[Exeunt. Alarums]

Next: Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 8

Explanatory Notes for Act 5, Scene 7
From Macbeth. Ed. Thomas Marc Parrott. New York: American Book Co.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

In spite of the fact that one of the witches’ prophecies has betrayed hitn, Macbeth still holds faith in the other. He is encouraged to greater confidence in this scene by his easy victory over young Siward, and this renders the shock of his disillusion in the following scene all the more terrible.

Alarums. This stage direction of the old text represents the noise of the battle.

1, 2. They have tied … course. The metaphor is taken from the popular Elizabethan pastime of bear-baiting. In this sport a bear was tied to a stake and worried by dogs. Macbeth, who finds it impossible to escape from the overwhelming force of his enemies, compares himself to such a baited bear. “Course” in line 2 is the technical word for a “round” in this sport.

2. What’s he, what sort of a man is he?

7. Note the omission of the subject-pronoun “which” before “is.”

18. Either, pronounced as a monosyllable.

18. staves, spears.

20. shouldst, must.

21. note, importance, rank.

21. one of greatest note, a man of the highest rank. Macduff recognizes Macbeth’s whereabouts in the battle by the clash of arms about him. Elsewhere the fight is a mere pretense, see lines 28-29.

22.bruited, announced by the noise.

24. gently rendered, tamely surrendered.

27. The day … yours, victory is about to declare itself yours.

29. strike beside us, do not strike directly at us, but intentionally miss us.


How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Thomas Marc Parrott. New York: American Book Co., 1904.