Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth

by

Susan King

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Macbeth, also Mac Bethad mac Finlach, is the son of Finlach and the second husband of Gruadh. Born in Moray, his life is disrupted when Gilcomgan and Gilcomgan’s brother murder his father and claim his inheritance, naming themselves the mormaers of Moray. Macbeth lives as a landless noble for much of his early adulthood, until he murders Gilcomgan as revenge for his father and claims Moray for himself. Macbeth then marries Gruadh, Gilcomgan’s widow. Although she sees this as a way for him to more stably install himself at Elgin, he also weds her to protect her from King Malcolm and to lend legitimacy to his own hard-won position. Macbeth and Gruadh eventually grow close, and although they have no surviving children, he adopts her son, Lulach, as his own. Macbeth is ambitious and a fierce fighter, but he is also family-oriented and committed to honoring his heritage. His desire for power comes as much from his own personal drive as it does from a desire to fulfill the potential of his bloodline. Macbeth eventually becomes king when he fatally wounds the sitting king, Duncan, in hand-to-hand combat. He rules over Scotland for seventeen years, until Malcolm mac Duncan, who believes he is the rightful king, fatally wounds him in his home. Before he dies, he makes sure Lulach is crowned king, so that his heir, even if they are not blood-related, will continue his lineage.

Macbeth Quotes in Lady Macbeth

The Lady Macbeth quotes below are all either spoken by Macbeth or refer to Macbeth. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Three Rivers Press edition of Lady Macbeth published in 2008.
Prologue Quotes

Drostan, who has long known me, has a fine hand with a pen and hopes to write a chronicle about me. This would be an encomium, a book of praise, for his queen. I told him it was a silly notion. […] From what my advisors say, Malcolm Canmore—ceann mór in Gaelic, or big head, two words that suit him—will order his clerics to record Macbeth’s life. Within those pages, they will seek to ruin his deeds and his name. My husband cannot fight for his reputation now. But I am here, and I know what is true.

Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1 Quotes

Because I am descended in a direct line from Celtic kings, the purest royal blood courses through me and blushes my skin. I could prick a finger and it would be gold to some.

I am Gruadh inghean Bodhe mac Cineadh mhic Dubh […] My lineage combines the ancient royal branches of Scotland […] Because a man could claim the throne of Scotland by marrying me, I was not safe. Nor were my kinsmen, come to that: if they were killed, one after another, our line would be eliminated at its heart, making room for others’ ambitions. Such is the way of things when one’s heritage is ancient, pure, and royal.

Little good did the blood of ancients do me. I was like a lark spiraling upward, unaware of the hawks above judging time and distance to the prize.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth, Bodhe , Gilcomgan
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7  Quotes

Them men formed a circle around me, friends and enemies both. Ahead, on the earth of the practice yard, two swords lay crossed and ready, shining blades reflecting the glow of the sunrise. Nearby, horses stood, gleaming and grand, ready to be ridden, while overhead, two eagles winged toward the mountains, and a raven settled on a gatepost. Moon and stars were still visible in the sky, and the sunrise flowed over the hilltops like a spill of blood, the sun in its midst like a golden wafer. […] I knew some of the elements—ravens were death and warning, eagles pride and pairing, horses freedom; the swords might be conflict or war, and the circle of warriors around me could have been a sign of protection, or the men in my future. […] My mother had been gifted with the Sight that brings spontaneous visions, so common among the Gaels that we call it Da Shealladh, the gift of two sighs. A great-grandmother on Bodhe’s side had been a taibhsear, a seer, from whom others sought advice.

Until that moment, I had not known that I, too, had a hint of that talent.

Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8  Quotes

“Often the meaning of the omens we see it not clear until later. If we knew too much about the future, we might be afraid to step from our houses. Do not fret—the signs you saw speak of Scotland’s future even more than your own.”
“Scotland?” I blinked. “Because of the warriors and symbols of warfare?”
“Perhaps they will be Rue’s husbands in future,” Bethoc said. “Well, not all of them,” she amended when I gaped at her.

Mairi took my hands in hers and closed her eyes. “Two husbands,” she said. “Three, if you so choose. Like most women you will have a share of happiness and measures of sorrow. Unlike most, you will have… power.” She let go of my fingers. “You can draw strength from within yourself, like water from a well. Your mother gave you the sign of the good Brigid on your shoulder,” she went on, touching my upper sleeve, which covered the symbol. “Call upon that protection whenever you need it.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Bethoc (speaker), Mairi (speaker), Macbeth, Bodhe , Gilcomgan , Ailsa , The Goddess Brigid
Related Symbols: The Triskele
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9  Quotes

At one point, King Malcolm himself carried his great-grandson and held him out to King Cnut. The prince, at two years old a sturdy handful, set up a lusty caterwauling, so that both men looked annoyed. Still, the message was clear: young Malcolm mac Duncan of Scotland had made a symbolic homage to the ruler of England.

And it was clear to those watching that in making his great-grandson pledge to England, old Malcolm was declaring that his line, grandson to son, would be kings hereafter. […]

The child’s mother, Lady Sybilla, stepped forward to take her boy from her father-by-law. I was among the retinue of women who walked with her, and she turned to give the squalling child to me. He struggled to get down, and I set him on his feet, taking his hand. He pulled me along rather like a ram dragging its shepherd. Others were amused, but I felt a strange sense, like a weight on my shoulders, on my soul.

And then, with a shudder, I knew it for an omen of the future—myself, and all of us gathered that day were linked to this moment as if by the tug of a heavy chain.

Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13  Quotes

Together they had conspired to kill Gilcomgan and wrest Moray from him. Macbeth had overtaken my future, and my child’s, out of his own ambition and desire for revenge. My fingers let go the clutched yarn, red strands unraveling like blood to pool on the floor. I turned to leave, to suppress my anger, as Bodhe might have done. But I was not my father.

Swords sparked bright against the wall, where a few of them leaned, unused. One of them was my own. I snatched it up and turned back to face the men. “Upon this sword, which Bodhe gave to me,” I said, “I swear to protect my child from all your cold scheming. Listen to me,” I said through my teeth when Macbeth stepped forward. “No more of Bodhe’s blood shall suffer for your ambitions!”

They stood still, king, husband, and housecarls. An oath made on a blade was a fierce thing and never taken lightly. I wanted them to understand that I was not helpless, no pawn to stand by while their plans destroyed by father’s proud line. Wild Celtic blood ran strong in me, a legacy of warriors, warrior queens, and sword oaths. It was not the wisest thing I have done; it was something foolish, something brave.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), King Malcolm (speaker), Bodhe , Gilcomgan , Finlach , Farquhar mac Bodhe
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

Peace and acceptance were not pretty threads in my wool basket that winter. I realized that I was alone in my resentment and anger. Others readily accepted Macbeth as the new mormaer, soon calling him Moray when they addressed him. […]

One day Maeve pulled me aside. “Find some peace for yourself,” she said. “This grief and torment will poison your babe.”

That night I sought out Elgin’s little wooden chapel, intending to pray for serenity and forgiveness. When I pushed open the door, I saw that Macbeth was already there, on his knees before the alter. He wore only a simple long shirt and trews, and for a moment I did not know him. His head was bowed, glinting dark gold in the light of candles. I saw him cover his face, and then he prostrated himself on the worn planks of the floor like a suffering pilgrim.
Faith is a private thing to my thinking, and here I witnessed an intimate side of the man. He appeared contrite, even tormented. I guessed at his sin, the murder of his first cousin Gilcomgan. By the teaching of the Church, it could blacken his soul and affect him for all eternity come judgment Day, if not expunged.

Backing away, I closed the door. I felt a stir of sympathy for a man who felt such clear anguish within himself. When I wanted to hate him most, I could not. By inches and breaths, my resentments faded, much as I strived to stoke them.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker), Macbeth, Gilcomgan
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16  Quotes

“I hear,” Macbeth said, “that wives of other mormaers, even kings, stay at home where they are safe, and keep mute about steel-games unless asked for their opinion.”

“I am none of that cloth.” […]

Walking through dry sand to meet my friends, having witnessed by husband do cold murder, I yet felt a stirring admiration for him as a capable warlord. That day, as at other times, he had demonstrated uncompromising will, as well as physical ability and courage. He revealed a strong sense of what was right and what was not, and what was possible between those points—and he took steps to achieve it.

Whether or not he knew it, I considered myself his capable equal, not a subservient wife. Raised by a warlord in a nest of warriors, I would not be regarded as significant in my small household circle, only to be dismissed beyond its boundaries.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Thorfin Sigurdsson, Angus mac Fergus
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17  Quotes

“Men,” Catriona said, “understand life and death differently than women. Ours is to give birth, life, and comfort. We cannot bring ourselves to take life, knowing its struggle and value.”

Somehow this saintly show of opinion irritated me. “If I had to kill to save a life, mine or my son’s,” I said, “I would do it.”

“Rue is trained at arms,” Bethoc said proudly.

“Lady Gruadh has a stiffer backbone than I do,” Catriona said. “It is my work to bring life into this world. My heart is far too tender to destroy it.”

“That is not my intent,” I defended. “The lady of a powerful region must have a martial spirit as well as a virtuous one. I would not hesitate to put on armor and take up a sword, if such was needed for the good of all.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Catriona of Kinlossie (speaker), Bethoc (speaker), Macbeth, Lulach
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

Yet I had to master my temper, as he had done, and stay. Obligation to my kin group demanded that I remain with Moray’s new mormaer, who had no equal among other warlords. Fate had set me in this situation, after all.
I frowned, for he left something unsaid. “What purpose do you see in this union?”

One hand on the door, he turned back. “Together we can tap the power of your legacy and mine,” he said quietly, “and take Scotland under our rule.”

There. He said outright what I, and others, suspected. I straightened my shoulders. This, then, was what Bodhe wanted, and what generations of my kin deserved in their honor. “A thing like that turns on loyalty,” I said, “or falters for lack of it.”

He nodded. “It does.”

“Well enough,” I said, watching him. An agreement of sorts.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe , Catriona of Kinlossie
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18  Quotes

“There must be some kind of justice and recompense for these deaths!”
“Justice will be brought,” Macbeth said low.

“When?” I asked, splaying my hands, slim fingered and beringed, on the table. Such feminine hands for such hard masculine thoughts. The urge sprang in me like a dark wolf within. I did not like it, but fed it nonetheless. It is the way of things, Bodhe would have said. “When will you avenge my kinsmen? Tomorrow? A year from now?” […]

“If one of Bodhe’s bloodline held the throne someday,” my husband then said, “it would be far more lasting revenge than bloodshed now.”

Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19  Quotes

“Your weapons practice and your desire for vengeance,” Maeve told me one day, “are hardening you, dulling the bed of your womb. How can you expect to conceive a child when you feed yourself on spite and anger? Those are poisons for the body.”

She made me think, I admit, and she made me wonder. But I did not stop, not then. […]

“Your wish for vengeance is sinful,” [Father Osgar] told me one day after confession, when we walked a little. “But it is understandable. Let prayer and faith heal you.”
“I cannot give it up,” I said. “I am not yet done with this.”

“Give it up or keep it close,” he answered, “but know that until you find some peace in your heart, I will pray on your behalf. Grief is sometimes like a sharp-toothed demon that gets hold of our hearts. But its grip weakens with time, and one day you will be free of it.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker), Macbeth, Bodhe
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20  Quotes

“If we were to gain rod and crown,” I said low, so that none should hear but he, “we could satisfy our heritage and avenge our two fathers, all at once.”

“Just so.” He cast me a look that was sharp and clear.

I felt a chill. “You led me deliberately to share your plan, from the first.”

“In part,” he admitted, “for I knew the worth in your blood, and saw the worth of your nature. But I could never have planed as well as fate has done. It has twinned our motives now. Your father and mine are gone, and they deserve this. Our branches, Gabhran and Lorne, deserve this.”

“And the ancient Celtic blood of the whole of Scotland—it, too, needs this.”

“It does.” He smiled, and we rode on in silence.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe , Finlach
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21  Quotes

“Your husband Macbeth will be remembered among the greatest of his ilk, the kings of Scotland,” she said. “One of your sons will be a warrior. Not the others.”

“Others,” I repeated, pleased. “Monks, then, or abbots? Bards, perhaps.”

“They will not be,” she murmured slowly, eyes very dark, “warriors.”

A shiver slipped down my spine. […]

“Carry this warning to your husband. I have told him the same, but tell him again from me. Beware the son of the warrior whose spilled blood will make him a king.”

I stared. Her cloak, when she turned, was a swirl of utter blackness, so that I stepped back for fear the portal to the other side, open that night, might overtake me.

I did not repeat her message to Macbeth.

Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22  Quotes

I brought my dilemma to Macbeth, too. “What if God is punishing me for grievances and ambitions, for sometimes wanting you to be king, no mater the cost?”

“Be patient,” he said, as he often did. “What will we give our children without the kingdom that is our lineage, and theirs? All will come to us in time, including sons.”

Maeve, who wanted me to produce another babe so that she could knee-nurse again before she was too old, said she knew what was wrong. “It is willfulness and old grief, poisoning your womb. You want to be a warrior, and you want to be a mother. A woman keeps to home and family, and tends to matters inside the home. A man keeps to war games an tends to matters outside.”

A queen tends to both, I wanted to say, but did not. She would not understand.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker)
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25  Quotes

“My ambition was always for Scotland as much as myself. We must be careful to preserve the heart of what is called Gaelic, the honor, the power in it, when the outer world—the Church, our enemies, the trade, all the rest—stands to change us. Duncan is hastening the end of the Gaels, if he even knows it.”

“You can honor that heritage and vindicate your kin and mine,” I reminded him.

Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26  Quotes

“I made a sword vow years ago to protect my own, and I will keep it. I have a home and a son to protect, and I have a husband to support as best I can. All my life I have lived a female among Celtic warriors. My sword arm is trained, my bow and arrow are swift, and I have already bloodied the blade. Know this—my determination is in place. I will go with you.”

Macbeth took my horse’s bridle. “Each one who rides with me contributes to the whole. Your skill I will not argue, but your fortitude is little tested. You would require guards to protect you, and that detracts from the whole.”

“Have you not made it your purpose to uphold the old ways, the ancient ways, of the Gaels and the Celts?” The horse shifted under me, and I pulled the reins. Macbeth still held the bridle. “Celtic women have always fought beside their men.”

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 31 Quotes

Watching the prow of the boat surge through lapping waves, I knew that I had protected Malcolm from retaliation. By honoring my promise to his mother and following my own heart as a mother, I had prevented his murder as a boy. And he had returned, just as the mormaers had warned. I had brought this tragedy about.

But if that chance came again, I could not order the deaths of children. A devil’s bargain, that, to choose sin or grief. Closing my eyes, I rested my face in my hands and struggled, overcame a weeping urge. What I had done had been most rightful, though it came with a hard price. It was the way of things.

Page Number: 324
Explanation and Analysis:

Here is what the annals will say of Macbeth’s kingship: very little.

Seventeen years of plenty and peace for Scotland, give or take some strife. We suffered few battles and fewer enemies compared to other reigns. Scotland was brimful: fat cattle on the hillsides, fish in the streams, sheep thick with wool, the bellies of trading ships heavy with goods. Grain crops were golden and larders and byres filled; treasures accumulated, and all prospered, from shepherd to mormaer. Contentment is a thing not often recorded in the annals.
For much of Macbeth’s reign, the strength of his reputation and presence and the loyal nature of his alliances protected Scotland as never before. We had respite from decades of wars and conflict. Given more time, he would have attained what he sought of Scotland: more fair-minded laws, and the blending of honored Celtic traditions with the ways of the Church and even the Saxons.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth, Malcolm mac Duncan
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lady Macbeth PDF

Macbeth Character Timeline in Lady Macbeth

The timeline below shows where the character Macbeth appears in Lady Macbeth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...rejecting the repeated marriage proposals of Malcolm mac Duncan, the man who murdered her husband Macbeth, and now claims the Scottish crown. Although Malcolm has sent her expensive gifts, she is... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...her childhood friends Bethoc and Drostan to keep her company but misses her late husband Macbeth and her sons. (full context)
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
...kingship, and more magic than I should admit.” Still, Gruadh believes that her late husband, Macbeth, is more deserving of a chronicle. She knows Malcolm mac Duncan will write Macbeth’s history,... (full context)
Chapter 4 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...Gilcomgan became mormaer only after killing the previous mormaer, Finlach, the father of his cousin Macbeth. Gruadh hopes she will not be wed to any of the men present. (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...comes out to fetch her on Bodhe’s behalf. Another group of men arrive, led by Macbeth. He does not recognize Gruadh as noble and has her take care of his horse.... (full context)
Chapter 5 
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh remembers the first time she saw Macbeth. She was just four years old in 1020, and Macbeth was fourteen. King Malcolm was... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Gilcomgan and Malcolm mac Malbríd join Macbeth in front of King Malcolm. They do not deny murdering Finlach but explain that they... (full context)
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Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
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Macbeth refutes this; he says his father was brave and strong. He adds “if Finlach had... (full context)
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Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...will have to pay 150 cows or 33 ounces of gold to be split between Macbeth and the crown. He will also have to give Macbeth certain properties. This is the... (full context)
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As Macbeth leaves the hill where judgment was passed, men in the crowd begin to beat their... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Back in the great hall at Fife, Macbeth and Gilcomgan face off. Fergus urges Gruadh to watch the fight, especially Macbeth, to learn... (full context)
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Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...considers the argument between the two men. She realizes that even if Gilcomgan hadn’t killed Macbeth’s father, Finlach, there would still be “cause enough for a blood feud” because of the... (full context)
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Gilcomgan slices Macbeth across the jaw, but the fight continues. Macbeth hits Gilcomgan’s arm, splitting the chainmail and... (full context)
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Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...a murderer. Bodhe points out that Gruadh’s consent is not necessary for her to marry. Macbeth overhears, and asks Bodhe if it is true that Gruadh and Gilcomgan will wed. (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
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Gruadh tells Macbeth that not only will she not marry Gilcomgan, she would not marry him either. Macbeth... (full context)
Chapter 7 
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...Instead of seeing the future, she sees the present with a special kind of clarity: Macbeth is riding by and she sees their paths crossing as the sunlight “halo[s] his head... (full context)
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Gruadh wonders why, if Macbeth has a better claim to Moray, she isn’t marrying him. Bodhe explains that Macbeth is... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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Gruadh then runs into Macbeth. He cautions her again against marrying Gilcomgan, warning that her future husband is “hated by... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Macbeth has grabbed Gruadh’s arm, and she finds herself drawn in towards him. He is drawn... (full context)
Chapter 9 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...from the sidelines. Gruadh is confused when Gilcomgan does not ride, and is angry when Macbeth appears in his place, representing Moray. Ruari, who is watching the ceremony from a hillside... (full context)
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
...describes the events of the day and then all of the notable figures, including Bodhe, Macbeth, and Gruadh. Gruadh, who is described in flattering terms, is embarrassed but pleased. (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...Bodhe then calls Gruadh over to take over a chess game he is having with Macbeth. Gruadh is confused—knowing that Bodhe is better than her at chess—but recognizes that her father... (full context)
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Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh and Macbeth talk as they play. Gruadh discovers that Macbeth is married, and so is confused as... (full context)
Chapter 11 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...middle of the night by a messenger sent by Banchorrie. The man warns her that Macbeth and his men are marching on Elgin. At first, Gruadh is unconcerned, and assumes the... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...has gone on patrol with fifty men, leaving Elgin relatively undefended. Gruadh refuses to let Macbeth and his men in. She knows they will break down the door anyway but doesn’t... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Macbeth lashes out at Gruadh, knocking the sword out of her hand and throwing her to... (full context)
Chapter 12 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
The next morning, guards escort an unwilling Gruadh to a nearby church where Macbeth waits to marry her. Gruadh does not want to marry him but has no agency.... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
...she would “prefer to be wed in the old Celtic way, with charms and blessings.” Macbeth agrees, taking her in three circles around the priest “in ancient blessing tradition,” and then... (full context)
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Back in Elgin, Gruadh goes against Macbeth’s commands. She will not stay in her chamber as he has requested, and instead sees... (full context)
Chapter 13 
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King Malcolm and his men arrive at Elgin, and Macbeth greets them. Gruadh hopes that the King has come to avenge her dead husband but... (full context)
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Gruadh also returns inside. A man introduces himself as Banchorrie. He is Macbeth’s uncle, and sent a messenger to Gruadh the night Gilcomgan died. She appreciates this “unexpected... (full context)
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Macbeth suggests that Gruadh leave the room while he discusses politics with King Malcolm and the... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...Malcolm insists that his descendants must continue to rule Scotland for the nation’s own good. Macbeth disagrees, and argues that the old Celtic way is better. Malcolm insists Macbeth pledge his... (full context)
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...of Bodhe’s blood shall suffer for your ambitions.” The men stare at her, shocked, before Macbeth finally escorts her from the room. (full context)
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As time goes on, Gruadh realizes she is the only one who has not accepted Macbeth as the new mormaer. She comes to understand that he had broad popular support even... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...situation, and one day goes to the chapel to pray. She is surprised to see Macbeth there, already praying. For the first time, she feels sympathy for him, and begins to... (full context)
Chapter 14 
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One day, Gruadh looks for Macbeth and finds him in the room where they keep falcons. She wants to know about... (full context)
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Macbeth is offended by the implication that he would sabotage the birth. Gruadh clarifies that she... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...familiar with childbirth. He offers to serve as her birthing chair. She also runs into Macbeth, who expresses concern. He wants to send for a local midwife, but Gruadh refuses his... (full context)
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Although Gruadh stubbornly waits for her cousins Bethoc and Mairi, Macbeth eventually goes for a midwife himself. She arrives hours later and introduces herself as Catriona.... (full context)
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Macbeth jokes that the baby looks just like Gruadh, and luckily looks nothing like Gilcomgan. Gruadh... (full context)
Chapter 15 
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Macbeth invites his personal bard, Dermot mac Conall, to Elgin. One day the bard asks to... (full context)
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Macbeth explains Dermot is a fathach, or prophet, and has made a star map of the... (full context)
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Gruadh wonders if Dermot mapped the stars and told Macbeth the best time to ride into Moray. Macbeth denies this. Gruadh then asks if Dermot... (full context)
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Gruadh decides to reveal that she can see visions of the future. She tells Macbeth she once saw “a crownlike light about your head.” She feels that she now has... (full context)
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...reunited with friends and to be reminded of home. She even feels more warmly towards Macbeth(full context)
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...a crown. She also offered him protection and gave a small stone. She also told Macbeth that there was a crown in his future, and he would be remembered longer than... (full context)
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Maeve notes that Macbeth has strong ambition, and that marrying Gruadh strengthened his claim to the throne and increased... (full context)
Chapter 16 
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That winter, Gruadh continues to soften towards Macbeth. She still feels grief and anger, but also believes one day she might feel forgiveness.... (full context)
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Gruadh knows accepting Macbeth as her husband will make her life, and the lives of those around her easier,... (full context)
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When the weather begins to warm, Macbeth and his guards begin to travel out into the countryside. Gruadh doesn’t understand why he... (full context)
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Gruadh begins to feel flashes of desire for Macbeth, who has yet to visit her in her bedroom at night. Maeve, too, now considers... (full context)
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...has the urge to leave the fortress. She has Angus, Bethoc, and Séan, one of Macbeth’s warriors, accompany her. They ride towards the ocean where they spot Viking ships. Angus pulls... (full context)
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Macbeth and his men give Thorfin and his men a box, but there is some disagreement... (full context)
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...her husband has been “secretive and cruel” and wants to confront. She reveals herself to Macbeth and challenges him, wondering why he killed a man and why he paid a bribe.... (full context)
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As Gruadh returns home she feels “admiration” for Macbeth. She sees that he is capable, uncompromising, and ambitious, with a strong moral code. Additionally,... (full context)
Chapter 17 
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Gruadh continues to do her best to run her household. She observes Macbeth riding out into Moray and getting to know his tenants. She sees that the people... (full context)
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One day Macbeth and Gruadh lock eyes as Macbeth plays with Lulach. Gruadh recognizes that he “yearns” for... (full context)
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...the birth of another child. Bethoc remains jealous and unwelcoming. One day Gruadh asks how Macbeth knew to fetch Catriona, and the midwife reveals she and Macbeth were childhood friends. Gruadh... (full context)
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Bethoc, Aella, Gruadh, and Catriona discuss the prospect of Macbeth becoming king. Bethoc notes he would have to fight a war first. Catriona comments that... (full context)
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Over the summer Gruadh and Macbeth often lock eyes and Gruadh often feels a spark of attraction and connection, but she... (full context)
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Later that summer, Macbeth considers appointing a Catholic bishop in Moray. He asks Gruadh for her input and, impressed... (full context)
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Macbeth rides off to visit a thane for a few days, and Gruadh goes on a... (full context)
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...home, and decides to visit to mend their friendship. However, when she arrives she sees Macbeth’s horse tied outside, and realizes the two are likely sleeping together. Furious, she shoots an... (full context)
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Gruadh returns to Elgin, furious. She plans to leave and return to Fife, but Macbeth arrives before she can and stops her. She accuses him of conspiring with her “personal... (full context)
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Macbeth tries to explain he and Catriona have been friends their whole lives and “sometimes sought... (full context)
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Macbeth tells Gruadh she can return to Fife, but she knows she can’t and won’t, as... (full context)
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In July, Gruadh watches Macbeth oversee a judgment court. Seeing men clap and stamp for him, she feels as though... (full context)
Chapter 18 
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As Gruadh and Macbeth travel for a wedding they pass three black ravens, a bad omen. (full context)
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...She wonders why he didn’t protest her second marriage, and wonders if he knew of Macbeth’s scheme to kill Gilcomgan and marry her all along. Bodhe denies any foreknowledge of her... (full context)
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Gruadh reports that Macbeth wants to be king. Bodhe knows this already, thinks Macbeth will be a good king,... (full context)
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Back in Elgin, Gruadh has a vision of men fighting. Both Macbeth and Gilcomgan are there. To the north is a ship that is also like a... (full context)
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...they belonged to “a man of note.” Gruadh goes to her bedroom to mourn and Macbeth joins her. Gruadh recognizes her bloodline is slowly being whittled down, and suspects King Malcolm... (full context)
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Gruadh and Macbeth travel to Fife for the funeral. They bury Bodhe, young Malcolm mac Farquhar, and Fergus,... (full context)
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...see Bodhe’s kinsmen from Fife are want revenge as much as she does. She asks Macbeth to keep her involved, but he tells her to “leave it be.” (full context)
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...that can make its way back to the king, and seeing her understanding of politics, Macbeth observes, “we shall make a queen of you yet.” (full context)
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...Crinan are confused—they feel Gruadh cannot rule Fife as a woman. This frustrates Gruadh, which Macbeth recognizes, and he quickly ends the conversation. (full context)
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The next week, while still at Abernethy, Finn, Macbeth, Gruadh and others discuss revenge. They wonder who sent the men who killed Bodhe, whether... (full context)
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Gruadh wants Macbeth to kill Malcolm, but he refuses. He argues installing someone from Bodhe’s bloodline in a... (full context)
Chapter 19 
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Gruadh and Macbeth return to Moray in late August. Macbeth transfers his household from Elgin to Craig Phadraig... (full context)
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A few weeks after their move, Gruadh and Macbeth receive a letter from King Malcolm, announcing he’s installed Black Duff as Fife’s mormaer. Malcolm... (full context)
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Gruadh has another dream of the future; in this one, Macbeth fights a single opponent as a bloody battle rages around him. Gruadh feels an intense... (full context)
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Macbeth rides into his territory to curry favor with his people. Gruadh spends much of her... (full context)
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That winter Gruadh and Macbeth return to Elgin. Gruadh and Macbeth often have sex, but she has not become pregnant... (full context)
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...for protection, but miscarries not soon after, before she even has the opportunity to tell Macbeth. She returns to her swordcraft and feels “a bitterness growing in me like a hard... (full context)
Chapter 20 
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That spring Macbeth, Gruadh, and an envoy of eighty men on horseback set out to survey Moray. Gruadh... (full context)
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As Macbeth and Gruadh set out, he mentions Enya, Thorfin’s grandmother, who now lives in northern Moray.... (full context)
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On their journey Macbeth, Gruadh, and their party stay with many friendly thanes. Gruadh can see that “approval gather[s]... (full context)
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One morning, Gruadh asks Macbeth when he decided he wanted more power than could be attained by simply avenging his... (full context)
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...if they were to become king and queen, they could avenge both of their fathers. Macbeth agrees, and reveals that he had always planned to use her heritage to make his... (full context)
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...end Naisi is killed, and Deirdre kills herself in grief. That night, Gruadh talks to Macbeth about the story—she feels that Celts and Gaels no longer have freedom, and cannot live... (full context)
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Later in their journey, Macbeth gifts Gruadh with a small dagger with which she can keep herself safe. They travel... (full context)
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That Saturday Macbeth and Gruadh go to pray at the local church. Macbeth leaves gifts for the priest,... (full context)
Chapter 21 
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A few days later, as Macbeth, Gruadh, and their party ride home, a group of men attacks them. One man grabs... (full context)
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The battle ends. Macbeth and his men “won,” but there were casualties on both sides. Macbeth comes to check... (full context)
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...by guilt. She has killed a man and wants to go to church to confess. Macbeth argues she doesn’t need penance. He believes “battle killings are defensible even within the Church.”... (full context)
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A few weeks later Macbeth is thrown from his horse. He recovers in a tenant’s house and Gruadh goes to... (full context)
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...future. In this one, she is in a boat, and from her boat can see Macbeth in a warship along with two young men, all sailing west towards the setting sun.... (full context)
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...beckoning.” She says Gruadh’s sons will go west, but one will be a warrior, and Macbeth will be remembered as a great king. Gruadh wonders about her other two sons, but... (full context)
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...pregnancies, and more than six heartbreaks. Una then give Gruadh a warning to bring to Macbeth—“beware the son of the warrior whose spilled blood will make him a king.” (full context)
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Gruadh does not repeat Una’s message to Macbeth. She realizes either Una is telling her lies or telling her truth’s she doesn’t want... (full context)
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...at Elgin. They announce King Malcolm has died in an ambush. Duncan is now king. Macbeth will go to bury his grandfather on Iona, where all kings are buried. Gruadh insists... (full context)
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Before arriving in Iona, Macbeth, Banchorrie, and Gruadh meet in Scone and discuss King Malcolm’s death. Banchorrie warns the couple... (full context)
Chapter 22 
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...brought to Scone, where candlelight vigils are held. At Scone, Gruadh also witnesses Duncan’s crowning. Macbeth stands on the hill with Duncan as the ceremony begins, and Gruadh observes he “looked... (full context)
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Malcolm is buried at Iona. Macbeth goes with the escort, but Gruadh remains at Dunsinnan. Gruadh reflects on Lady Sybilla, who... (full context)
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Macbeth has returned from Iona and travels home with Gruadh. He hopes to be buried on... (full context)
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When Macbeth, Finn, and Ruari all ride out without telling Gruadh where they are going, she reflects... (full context)
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...sees as an indication that in the future they will provide loyalty and support if Macbeth ever makes a bid for the crown. (full context)
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That summer, Finn and Ruari return with two thousand men. Macbeth returns with sixteen hundred. They are preparing for war, and make arrangements for the men... (full context)
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Macbeth anticipates that Duncan will dispute the southern Saxon border, although King Malcolm had hashed it... (full context)
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...to term. She wonders if this is divine punishment for having ambitions and for wanting Macbeth to be king. Her husband comforts her, pointing out that they want the kingdom so... (full context)
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One day Macbeth returns home with a letter from Duncan—compensation for Bodhe’s death. He gives Gruadh crowning rights,... (full context)
Chapter 23 
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Banchorrie arrives one morning with a band of men to warn Gruadh and Macbeth that Scottish warships have been sighted off the Moray coast. Duncan has asked Thorfin for... (full context)
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...protect her family. Thorfin sinks five of Duncan’s ship and Duncan retreats with the rest. Macbeth and Banchorrie gather troops in anticipation of a clash with Orkney on land, and Macbeth... (full context)
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Macbeth is gone for months, but eventually, that spring, a messenger arrives. The messenger removes his... (full context)
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Macbeth returns to Elgin and tells Gruadh to gather her household and move somewhere safer. He... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Gruadh is happy to have Macbeth home for an evening. He has been spending weeks and months fighting Thorfin at the... (full context)
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...Thorfin in turn murdered his nephew. Gruadh thinks killing family “takes a black heart,” but Macbeth notes that “when kin slaughters kin, it cannot always be judged poorly […] sometimes it... (full context)
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...watch over her children Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald Bán. Gruadh still has not told Macbeth about her oath, and wonders if she will be able to fulfill it.  (full context)
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...Enya admits she gave it power through spells and charms. Enya refuses to help strengthen Macbeth against her grandson, but agrees to help Gruadh, although warns her that she can either... (full context)
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Duncan continues to fight Thorfin and lose. That summer, Macbeth comes home one evening and he and Gruadh watch the northern lights. Macbeth says they... (full context)
Chapter 25 
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...the next year Duncan continues to send ships to fight Thorfin and continues to lose. Macbeth is often away at war, and Gruadh misses him. Gruadh spends her time embroidering, mostly... (full context)
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That winter, Macbeth returns and he and Gruadh have sex, but she does not become pregnant. She has... (full context)
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Banchorrie acts as a messenger between Duncan and Macbeth. Duncan wants Macbeth to raise thousands of men to attack the Saxons. Macbeth refuses, even... (full context)
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That evening, Gruadh pours mead for her friends and family. She gives Macbeth one drinking horn and Drostan, her guest, the other. Drostan shares with Maeve, as he... (full context)
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Macbeth convalesces in bed. Bethoc does what she can, but Gruadh realizes she needs Catriona’s expertise.... (full context)
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As Macbeth recovers he and Gruadh receive word of Duncan from Ruari. Duncan tried to capture some... (full context)
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Early in August Macbeth asks Gruadh to prepare the house for a war council. Mormaers and warriors from across... (full context)
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Later that night Macbeth joins Gruadh in their bedroom. He tells her his coconspirators want him to participate in... (full context)
Chapter 26 
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After two weeks of planning, Macbeth receives word that Duncan is advancing Elgin with his troops. Gruadh gives Macbeth the blessed... (full context)
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Macbeth prepares to ride out, and so does Gruadh. She reasons that if Macbeth is willing... (full context)
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When Macbeth sees Gruadh he tries to send her back inside, but Gruadh will not budge. She... (full context)
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Just as Gruadh suspected, her presence encourages men to join Macbeth’s army, and she even inspires some women to grab weapons and march. For the first... (full context)
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Eventually, Macbeth, Gruadh, and their army crest a hill and see Duncan and his forces on the... (full context)
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Macbeth and Duncan battle. Although Duncan is a strong fighter, cutting Macbeth’s leg, Macbeth first breaks... (full context)
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...magical. That night—before Duncan’s wounds kill him and he is no longer king, and before Macbeth is crowned—is one of these special times. Gruadh does her best to nurse the dying... (full context)
Chapter 27 
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...has died, Thorfin offers to carry the body to Scone on one of his boats. Macbeth thanks him but turns him down. By noon the day after the battle Macbeth and... (full context)
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...new king. Gruadh is not involved in the conversations and prays in her bedchamber until Macbeth finally joins her and announces he will be crowned High King of Scots. Everyone but... (full context)
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According to tradition, Macbeth dumps a boot-full of soil on the mound at Scone, a hill that, according to... (full context)
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That day, Gruadh and Macbeth participate in the Celtic crowning ceremony. A bishop says prayers, and then leads Macbeth in... (full context)
Chapter 28 
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Gruadh and Macbeth move to a new fortress, Kincardine O’Neil. Gruadh briefly returns to Elgin to fetch Lulach,... (full context)
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...to warm to her former rival, realizing that Catriona has saved both her life and Macbeth’s. Catriona gives her herbs and potions to drink and bathe in. Both women offer a... (full context)
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Later that winter Macbeth debates whether or not to kill Duncan’s young children, who Crinan has recently smuggled out... (full context)
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...bed Gruadh reflects Una’s prophecy “Beware the son of the warrior whose spilled blood will make Macbeth a king.” She wonders if Una was referring to Malcolm, and if killing a child... (full context)
Chapter 29 
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It is now the year 1050, a decade and a half after Macbeth’s crowning. Thanks to Macbeth, Scotland has enjoyed years of peace, and so Gruadh goes to... (full context)
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Gruadh reflects on past battles—Macbeth killed Crinan six years earlier, and bested the Earl of Siward, uncle of Malcolm mac... (full context)
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Macbeth is currently in Rome, visiting the newly elected Pope. This is the first pilgrimage ever... (full context)
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Macbeth brought the simple clothes of a religious pilgrim with him, as well as a “small... (full context)
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...died at six months old. Gruadh realizes history will likely say “the good wife of Macbeth […]. was barren,” and people will wonder why he did not replace her with a... (full context)
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Gruadh notes Macbeth became more religious after the death of his sons and spent a lot of time... (full context)
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...into the water to see the future. Enya tells Graudh she sees a ship and Macbeth will be home soon. However, she also sees Viking ships, and tells Gruadh she must... (full context)
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...they have since made a truce and warns her Saxon ships approach, intending to sink Macbeth’s ship. Malcolm mac Duncan knows if he “should sink the king’s ship […] in full... (full context)
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...her perch Gruadh watches Thorfin’s long ships hide themselves along the shoreline. Gruadh then watches Macbeth’s merchant vessel slowly make its way towards shore, and Saxon ships approach from the south,... (full context)
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Malcolm mac Duncan’s ships chase Macbeth’s, but just when they are about to overtake him, Thorfin’s Viking ships reveal themselves and... (full context)
Chapter 30 
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...years have passed. Gruadh wakes from the dreams of a citadel, inside of which is Macbeth. Out of the window Gruadh can see a burning wooden fortress. Suddenly, in the dream,... (full context)
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...Lulach’s plots against him, he will accuse her of treason. Drostan predicts “he will ruin Macbeth’s name now through rumors, and permanently in the annals and chronicles.” (full context)
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Gruadh thinks back over the past eight years and recounts the death of her husband, Macbeth, and the ascension of Malcolm mac Duncan.  In July 1054, Malcolm crossed the border into... (full context)
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...although the priests did not agree, and Gruadh, the crowner, would not crown him. After Macbeth’s defeat he returned to Elgin, where Gruadh and Catriona treated his wounds—specifically a blow to... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Gruadh knows that although Macbeth reigned for seventeen years of relative peace and prosperity, he will not be remembered by... (full context)
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Gruadh reflects on how, given more time, Macbeth would have worked to blend Celtic traditions with the “the ways of the Church and... (full context)
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...how one evening Malcolm mac Duncan’s men attacked the fortress at Kincardine where she and Macbeth were staying. Gruadh helped Ingebjorg with her new infant daughter so Ingebjorg could carry Nechtan.... (full context)
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...all night and in the morning realized it was the seventeenth anniversary of the day Macbeth killed Duncan, which Malcolm mac Duncan had likely known and planned. Eventually, Macbeth arrived. He... (full context)
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Macbeth explained to Gruadh that if he died before Lulach was made king, Gruadh and all... (full context)
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...saw three ravens sitting on a stone. She realizes now the site was Lanfinnan, where Macbeth and Malcolm mac Duncan battled and where Macbeth was fatally wounded. (full context)
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...a mother. She understands that she indirectly led to the death of her own husband, Macbeth. She believes she made the right choice, but with a steep price.   (full context)
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Macbeth made sure Gruadh understood that he wants to die in Scone as “rightful king of... (full context)
Epilogue
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...from Malcolm mac Duncan. Lulach plans to gather forces, using memories of and loyalty to Macbeth to rally troops.  (full context)
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Ruari and Lulach tell Gruadh that Macbeth has finally been buried at Iona, as he always wanted to be. (full context)