Homework Help

Can someone explain the speeches of Siward, Malcolm and Macduff to help me?Act V Scene...

user profile pic

riya-varshney | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted October 5, 2012 at 3:18 PM via web

dislike 0 like

Can someone explain the speeches of Siward, Malcolm and Macduff to help me?

Act V Scene 4

SIWARD
    We learn no other but the confident tyrant
    Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure
    Our setting down before 't.

MALCOLM
    'Tis his main hope:
    For where there is advantage to be given,
    Both more and less have given him the revolt,
    And none serve with him but constrained things
    Whose hearts are absent too.

MACDUFF
    Let our just censures
    Attend the true event, and put we on
    Industrious soldiership.

SIWARD
    The time approaches
    That will with due decision make us know
    What we shall say we have and what we owe.
    Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
    But certain issue strokes must arbitrate:
    Towards which advance the war.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

peterwillis | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

Siward is saying Macbeth has enough confidence to stay and face ('endure') a siege ('setting down') of his castle at Dunsinane.

Malcolm is saying a siege is worthwhile because Macbeth's troops are not loyal but forced to serve him (their hearts are not with him, are 'absent'), and both high and low ranks have already deserted him.

Macduff is saying do not concern ourselves now with guilt and excuses, rather get on with the fight.  It will be time for judging after the battle is won, when the outcome is known ('true' rather than just hoped for).

Siward agrees with Macduff:  do not speculate now, based only on uncertain hopes, about what they should do and who will be on their side if they win.  Get on with what will decide ('arbitrate) the matter in their favour, going into battle ('advance the war').   

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes