Macbeth Act 5 Scene 3: ISC Class 12 workbook answers

Macbeth Act 5 Scene 3
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Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 3) by William Shakespeare, which is part of ISC Class 12 English. However, the notes should only be treated as references, and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.

If you notice any errors in the notes, please mention them in the comments


This scene portrays Macbeth, now isolated and filled with despair, within the confines of Dunsinane castle. Despite receiving reports of thanes abandoning him and the English army advancing, he clings to the witches’ prophecy, believing himself invincible until Birnam Wood moves towards Dunsinane.

A servant informs Macbeth of the approaching enemy forces, but Macbeth, angered by the servant’s fear, dismisses him with insults. He calls for Seyton, his loyal officer, and reflects on his own life, lamenting the loss of honor, love, and obedience. He feels friendless and cursed by all.

Seyton confirms the news of the approaching army, further fueling Macbeth’s anger and defiance. He declares his determination to fight till the end, demanding his armor despite the enemy’s distance. Macbeth orders more horses and threatens those who speak of fear.

A doctor arrives, informing Macbeth of Lady Macbeth’s deteriorating mental state. He explains that her illness is beyond his medical capabilities, originating from within her mind. Macbeth, frustrated and dismissive, rejects the doctor’s remedies and asks if he can cure the sickness of the land, referring to the turmoil and rebellion he faces.

Macbeth’s despair is evident as he laments the thanes’ desertion and expresses his desire for a potion to rid the land of the English forces. He fluctuates between wearing and removing his armor, showcasing his internal struggle and increasing anxiety. Despite his growing desperation, he clings to the witches’ prophecy as his only source of hope, declaring his fearlessness until Birnam Wood moves towards Dunsinane.

Workbook answers

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Macbeth lives in the assurance of the witches that he need not fear

a. a man born of a woman
b. a man who is mortal
c. a man born of a witch
d. a man who has not sold his soul to the devil

Answer: a. a man born of a woman

2. The servant reports that there is an army of

a. one thousand soldiers
b. ten thousand soldiers
c. lazy soldiers
d. hundred soldiers

Answer: b. ten thousand soldiers

3. Macbeth calls the servant

a. cream faced loon
b. a fiend
c. a hot tempered man
d. a sly fox

Answer: a. cream faced loon

4. Seyton is an

a. Officer in waiting
b. a servant of Macbeth
c. a porter
d. a lord

Answer: a. Officer in waiting

5. Rhubarb and cyme are

a. pain killers
b. purgative drugs
c. poisonous drugs
d. energisers

Answer: b. purgative drugs

Context questions

1. The devil damn thee black, thou cream fac’d loon…
Where gott’st thou that goose look?
Servant: There is ten thousand……

a. How does Macbeth complete the sentence? How does the servant correct Macbeth?

Answer: Macbeth completes the sentence by mistakenly assuming the servant is talking about geese, saying “Ten thousand geese, you villain?” The servant corrects him by specifying, “There are ten thousand soldiers, Sir.”

b. What is the reaction of Macbeth when the servant tells him about his observations? What does he order the servant to do?

Answer: Macbeth reacts angrily to the servant’s report, scolding him for his cowardly appearance and ordering him to scratch his face to cover his fear with blood, indicating Macbeth’s disdain for visible fear and his attempt to encourage a braver facade.

c. Who does Macbeth call out to? Why?

Answer: Macbeth calls out to Seyton, his officer in waiting, signaling his need for assistance and counsel in the face of the alarming news brought by the servant.

d. While waiting for the person what does Macbeth introspect about himself?

Answer: While waiting for Seyton, Macbeth introspects about the autumn of his life, reflecting on his lack of peace, honor, love, obedience, and the company of friends, feeling dejected and alienated due to his crimes and longing for what he lacks.

e. What are your feelings towards Macbeth in this scene? Is he one to be pitied? Give reasons for your answer.

Answer: In this scene, feelings towards Macbeth might be mixed. One might pity him for his loneliness and the despair he feels as he realizes the consequences of his actions. Yet, this pity might be tempered by the recognition that his suffering is self-inflicted, resulting from his ambition and the series of murders he committed.

3. Macbeth: Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it. Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff. Seyton, send out -Doctor, the thanes fly from me –

a. Why does Macbeth ask the Doctor to throw his medicine away? Who was the patient?

Answer: Macbeth asks the Doctor to throw his medicine away out of frustration with the ineffectiveness of medicine to cure Lady Macbeth’s mental anguish. The patient is Lady Macbeth, who suffers from guilt-induced hallucinations and sleep disturbances.

b. What does Macbeth ask the Doctor to examine and cure?

Answer: Macbeth asks the Doctor to diagnose and cure the metaphorical disease affecting Scotland, reflecting his deeper anguish over the turmoil and violence plaguing his reign. He seeks a remedy that could restore the kingdom to health, symbolizing his desire to undo the consequences of his actions.

c. What drugs does Macbeth recommend?

Answer: Macbeth mentions rhubarb and cyme, seeking purgative drugs that could metaphorically cleanse Scotland of the English forces, illustrating his desperation to eliminate the threats against his reign and possibly cleanse his conscience.

d. What decision does the Doctor take at the end of the scene? Why does he take such a decision?

Answer: The Doctor decides, in an aside, that if he could leave Dunsinane, nothing would make him return, not even the prospect of a royal fee. This decision stems from witnessing the depth of Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s turmoil, the futility of his medical skills against their spiritual and psychological wounds, and possibly a desire to escape the toxic environment of Macbeth’s court.

e. What is Macbeth’s greatest lament?

Answer: Macbeth’s greatest lament is his recognition of a life led astray by ambition and violence, which ultimately leaves him empty, friendless, and devoid of the honor, love, obedience, and the company of friends that should accompany old age. He deeply regrets his isolation and the spiritual desolation that his quest for power has brought upon him.

Essay question

Question. Describe the essence of the conversation between Macbeth and the Doctor. What insights does it offer about their personalities?

Answer: The conversation between Macbeth and the Doctor is characterized by tension and hidden meanings. Both individuals appear cautious and hesitant to openly confide in each other, choosing instead to communicate indirectly.

Macbeth inquires about the nature of his wife’s ailment. The Doctor reveals that her illness is not physical, but rather a mental one. When Macbeth seeks a cure, the Doctor expresses his limitations, stating that her condition is beyond medical treatment and only she holds the power to heal herself.

Frustrated, Macbeth urges the Doctor to abandon his medicines. In his desperation, he asks if the Doctor can examine and cleanse the land of its sickness, restoring it to its former health. This metaphor alludes to the English forces advancing against him.

The Doctor offers no solutions and resolves to leave Dunsinane immediately, unwilling to return even for a royal fee.

This dialogue unveils the desperation and regret that Macbeth is grappling with, as he recognizes the devastating consequences of his actions. It sheds light on both characters, portraying Macbeth as a remorseful tyrant and the Doctor as an independent thinker who prioritizes his own principles.

Extra/additional MCQs

1. What is the number of the enemy soldiers that the servant reports to Macbeth?

A. One thousand B. Ten thousand C. Hundred D. Lazy soldiers

Answer: B. Ten thousand

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15. What does the Doctor decide to do at the end of the scene?

A. Stay and help Macbeth B. Flee from Dunsinane C. Refuse to treat Macbeth D. Report Macbeth’s condition to the authorities

Answer: B. Flee from Dunsinane

Extra/additional questions and answers

1. What does Macbeth say he will not be afraid of?

Answer: Macbeth says he will not be afraid of death and destruction until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.

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10. How does the scene depict Macbeth’s inner suffering and mental deterioration as a result of his crimes, and what is the significance of this portrayal?

Answer: The scene vividly depicts Macbeth’s profound inner turmoil and mental anguish as he grapples with the consequences of his bloody rise to power. Macbeth’s outbursts of rage, contradictory actions, and desperate pleas to the Doctor reveal a man tormented by guilt, fear, and a sense of isolation, having alienated himself from his subjects and lost the love, honor, and companionship that should have accompanied his old age. Yet, even amidst his degeneration, glimpses of the essential Macbeth – the noble, sensitive, and vulnerable man he once was – shine through, evoking a sense of tragic pathos and making the audience pity the tyrant even as they condemn his actions. This nuanced portrayal of Macbeth’s inner suffering underscores the play’s central theme of the corrosive effects of unchecked ambition and the moral and psychological costs of wielding absolute power.

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