Macbeth: 6. Dunsinane

An increasingly desperate Macbeth returns to the Witches for reassurance. They tell him to beware Macduff, but also that he cannot be harmed by anyone 'born to a woman'. Macbeth learns that Macduff has joined forces with Malcolm and vows to kill his wife and family.

The story

Macbeth returns to the Weird Sisters seeking reassurance
...something wicked this way comes...
The Weird Sisters

Ross and Lennox have found a quiet place on the battlements of Dunsinane to discuss the 'strange times'. Clearly they do not wish to be overheard and clearly they do not trust Macbeth. They reveal that Macduff has fled to England to join with Malcolm's forces. Later, an increasingly desperate Macbeth returns to the Witches looking for reassurance. They tell him to beware Macduff, but also that he cannot be harmed by anyone ‘born to a woman’ or be beaten until 'Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane'. Macbeth concludes that his position must be invincible. He then hears from Lennox that Macduff has joined forces with Malcolm and Macbeth vows to kill his wife and family.

The main characters

NameWho is...
MacbethThane of Glamis, then of Cawdor, then King of Scotland
Lady MacbethHis wife
The 'Weird Sisters'Three strange creatures living wild on the heathland
DuncanThe rightful King of Scotland
BanquoMacbeth's friend and comrade
FleanceBanquo's son
MalcolmDuncan's son and heir
DonalbainDuncan's younger son
MacduffThane of Fife; loyal to Duncan / Malcolm
Angus, Lennox, RossThree noblemen who initially support Macbeth but later leave him in favour of Malcolm / Macduff

In the song tutorial

TimingContent
00 00 Part 1Considering what a 'lament' is and the elements of the music that give it a sad, reflective tone.
02 06 Part 1 Learning the chorus, which is a simple chant on the word 'Dunsinane' repeated five times.
02 47 Part 1Learning Verse 1, beginning: "I remember the day I first kissed you...' singing it a line at a time before singing alternate lines in groups. Focusing on singing with smoothe phrases.
00 00 Part 2Learning Verse 2, beginning: 'Well our castle of love is now empty...' which is sung to the same melody as Verse 1.
02 52 Part 2Learning Verse 3, beginning: 'So tomorrow is all that is left me...' focusing on shaping the mouth to create clear vowel sounds.
06 18 Part 2Learning Verse 4, beginning: 'All the blood on my hands has bewitched me...' and singing it through straight away as it again is sung to the same melody as the other verses.

Story questions

Fleance - his son! Macbeth has also been saying that Malcolm and Donalbain were responsible for the death of their father King Duncan

He has fled to join Malcolm in England following Macbeth's murder of his wife and children

He wants to get reassurance about the future - their earlier prophecy that Banquo's heirs will become kings appears to suggest Macbeth's position is vulnerable

1. 'Beware Macduff'

2. 'No man who's ever been born to a woman can harm you'

3. 'You will never be beaten in battle till Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane!'

Whether Banquo's children will become kings or not

Resources