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Macbeth was now enraged and embittered.

“Bring me no more reports!” he screamed at his court. “Let them run. Not until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane will I have anything to fear. This boy, this Malcolm, wasn’t he born of woman? The spirits that know all mortals’ destiny have promised me this: Fear not, Macbeth, for no man born of woman will ever dominate you. So run, false thanes, and mingle with the dainty English. The mind I abide by and the heart I bear shall never sag with doubt or shake with fear.”

Just then a servant entered the chamber hurriedly. Macbeth knew the man had news but he didn’t want to hear it.

“May the Devil damn you black, you milk-faced lad! Where did you find that goose look?”

“There are ten thousand-”

“Geese, imbecile?” Macbeth agrrsively interrupted.

“Soldiers, sir.”

“Go pinch your cheeks to get some colour in them, you white-livered boy! What soldiers, fool? Is your soul dead! Your linen cheeks are contagious! What soldiers, whey-face?”

“The English Army, sir.”

“Get out of my sight!”

Enraged Macbeth began calling for his lieutenant.

“Seton! I’m sick to the stomach of what I’m seeing… Seton! This push will secure my future or it will unthrone me. I have lived long enough. My road has reached its autumn. That which should accompany old age, honour, love, obedience and many friends, will not be had by me. Instead I will have curses, maybe not uttered but deeply felt. Compliments are traded even when the heart denies them. Seton!”

At last Seton arrived in the chamber.

“What is your pleasure?”

“Any more news?”

“Everything that has been reported has been confirmed.”

“I’ll fight till my bones are hacked of their flesh! Give me my armour.”

“It isn’t needed yet.”

“I’ll put it on. Send out more scouts, comb the country. Hang those who talk of fear. Give me my armour.”

As the attendants were fixing the various pieces of Macbeth’s armour, the doctor treating Lady Macbeth entered the chamber.

“How is your patient, doctor?”

“Not so sick, my lord, as she is troubled by a stream of hallucinations which plague her sleep.”

“Cure her of that. Can you not treat a troubled mind? Pluck from memory a rooted sorrow? Erase the trouble written in her brain? And with some sweet painless drug remove the strife that lingers in her breast and weighs heavy on her heart?”

“In this case the patient alone can help herself.”

“Throw medicine to the dogs! I’ll have none of it! Seton, come, sort my armour. Give me my lance. Get more information. Doctor, the thanes fly from me. Come on, Seton, hurry up! If only, doctor, you could examine the state of this nation. Isolate the sickness and purge it until her health was sound and pristine. I would applaud you to the very echo of the skies, and again and again. Ah, Seton, pull of that bit! Doctor, what rhubarb, senna or any drug would rid us of the English? Have you heard of them?”

“Yes, my good lord. Your military preparations bring them to our attention.”

“Come after me, Seton. I won’t be afraid of death and destruction until Birnam Forest comes to Dunsinane!”

The doctor stood alone now as Macbeth and Seton went to the battlefield, followed by the attendants. Standing there he contemplated his fate: “If I was far away from Dunsinane, great riches couldn’t tempt me back.”