William Shakespeare
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Act 5 Scene 9

The castle of Dunsinane has been taken, and peace falls upon the land. The war ends with Macbeth’s death. Besides, the honors of the war have been acknowledged, and Scotland returns to normalcy. All the thanes of Scotland have assembled, and they have proclaimed Malcolm as the new king of Scotland.


It is a joyous scene. There is a celebration of the successful dethronement of the tyrant. Malcolm gives a speech in honor of those whom they lost as well as those who helped him become king. Malcolm shows that he is a man of honor and a leader who values the well-being of his subjects. His level of humility, patience, and graciousness is only comparable to that of his late father, King Duncan.

Malcolm pays an acknowledgment to the young Siward, who had shown an extraordinary level of patriotism in his confrontation with Macbeth. Malcolm is sympathetic that Siward “only lived but till he was a man.” It is devastating that the country lost such a young and brave soul. The elderly Siward shows a high level of faith and courage in his son’s loss. His only question is whether his son died while running away from or facing the enemy.

Carrying Macbeth's head, Malcolm makes a triumphant entry to the castle. Malcolm is satisfied that the weight of the sad days that dogged them has been lifted. The only thing that is remaining is for Malcolm to be proclaimed the king of Scotland. Malcolm invites the audience to Scone, the traditional coronation grounds. Malcolm believes that as the king, his actions will be conducted “in a measure, time and place.” It is a promise that his actions will unite the people and uphold the values that hold their society together.

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