Scene 2 takes us briefly to the opposing English forces gathering near Macbeth's fortress at Dunsinane.
We notice that Macbeth's army is beginning to desert.
In Scene 3, we notice that Macbeth's confidence hangs on a very thin thread. Indeed, he is not at all
happy with his situation. Then comes the news that Lady Macbeth herself is mentally ill and cannot be
THE OPPOSITION GATHERS
The story has come full circle.
The play started with the Thane of Cawdor proving to be a traitor to Scotland for which he was executed
and his head was presumably mounted on a stake.
The play ends with the new Thane of Cawdor proving to be a traitor to Scotland and his head too would
be mounted on a stake.
In-between we have witnessed Macbeth becoming the victim of the ultimate equivocation. First, the
witches made prophecies to him which were truths, half-truths or even possible truths.
Had Macbeth -- like Banquo -- not acted upon them but simply let events take their course, it is
possible that the prophecies might have reached fulfilment without his lifting a finger.
Even Macbeth himself came to a similar conclusion but allowed himself to fall prey to Lady Macbeth, who
persuaded him to take the shortest route.
Finding himself embarking upon a path of habitual murder, Macbeth returned to the witches to check on
his fear for Macduff. Yet Macbeth already knew that Macduff was his greatest threat.
Nevertheless he allowed the witches to deceive him once more by their equivocation. Fear Macduff --
but have no fear till great Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane. And fear no-one born of a woman.
These prophecies gave Macbeth false hope. Ultimately Macduff was his greatest fear -- and perhaps
also the greater warrior.
The final shock for Macbeth, of course, was probably to witness the real Porter of Hell's gate coming to
Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?