Summary

Malcolm and Siward and Macduff, leading the English forces, arrive at Dunsinane. The soldiers throw down their tree branches, and begin the final fight.

This scene is often combined with other scenes in this act, both because it’s so short and because doing so helps convey the sense of continuous motion and events happening, as they would on a battlefield.

Enter

To come on stage.

Dunsinane

Dunsinane is the name of Macbeth’s castle.

Before the castle.

The scene takes place in front of — before — the castle.

Drum and colours.

Marching soldiers, and all the props that go with them — drumbeats, flags (colours), etc.

with boughs.

The soldiers are still carrying their tree branches.

Now near enough: your leafy screens throw down. / And show like those you are.

We’re close enough to the castle now. Throw down your tree branches (your leafy screens), and let’s look like what we are — soldiers.

You, worthy uncle, / Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son, / Lead our first battle

You, Siward, my uncle, shall with your son (Young Siward) lead us in the first fighting.

This was an honor, despite the danger involved, and rightly belonged to the highest nobleman present.

worthy Macduff and we / Shall take upon ’s what else remains to do, / According to our order.

Macduff and I will take care of (take upon ’s) the rest, since we won’t be going first.

Do we but find the tyrant’s power to-night, / Let us be beaten, if we cannot fight.

Let us just find Macbeth’s army, and if we can’t beat them, then we deserve to lose.

Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath, / Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.

Blow the trumpets announcing our charge, the trumpets (the clamorous harbingers) that announce the coming of blood and death.

Aside

In an aside, the character speaks privately to himself for a moment, or directly to the audience, or privately to some (but not all) of the other characters present.

As a matter of convention, an aside is always a true statement of what the character thinks. A character speaking in an aside may be mistaken, but may not be dishonest.

An aside (again as a matter of convention) cannot be heard by those not spoken to.

Exeunt, marching.

Latin, literally “they leave.” The soldiers leave the stage, marching to the battle.

Pronounced EX-ee-uhnt.

Exeunt all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Latin, literally “they leave.” Most of the players leave the stage, leaving Macbeth alone with Lady Macbeth.

Pronounced EX-ee-uhnt.

Exeunt

Latin, literally “they leave.” Everyone leaves the stage.

Pronounced EX-ee-uhnt.