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Act V, Scene 6
This very brief scene takes place just beyond the castle gate of Dunsinane. Malcolm, Siward, and Macduff converse as they lead their army forward. Malcolm instructs his troops to throw down the branches from Birnam Wood, for they no longer need camouflage. Then Malcolm, obviously in control and command, orders Siward and his son to lead the first charge. He and Macduff will follow. Siward sets off, indicating he is well prepared for the fight. Macduff is eager as well and tells the troops to sound the trumpets as "harbingers of blood and death."
This scene, the shortest one in the play, serves two purposes. First it gives the location of the army. The soldiers are right outside of Dunsinane, and the fighting will start soon. Secondly, it places Malcolm into the leadership role that he rightfully deserves. He calmly give orders and organizes the attack, a very different image that the one painted of the chaotic and demented Macbeth bemoaning his life. It is significant to note that the army has come under the camouflage of branches, appearing to be something they were not; but it is now time to lay the branches aside and appear as they really are. Symbolically, the scene indicates that it is time to rid Scotland of Macbeth, a shallow appearance of a king, and replace him with Malcolm, the real prince who possesses the lineage and royal graces to honor the throne. Although the blood and death of fighting is eminent at the end of the scene, the promise is that evil and chaos will be vanquished, and peace and order will be restored to Scotland.