© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Macbeth Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line) from the Folger Shakespeare Library

Quote #10

Hail, King! for so thou art. Behold, where stands
Th' usurper's cursèd head. The time is free.
I see thee compassed with thy kingdom's pearl,
That speak my salutation in their minds,
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine.
Hail, King of Scotland! (5.8.65-70)

When Macduff says "the time is free" he means that Macbeth's reign has come to an end and the people of Scotland now live in freedom from tyranny. But there's also the sense that time had somehow come to a halt when Macbeth murdered Duncan and became king. Now that the rightful heir, Malcolm, will be crowned monarch, linear time (which was disrupted by Macbeth), is back on track, just as lineal succession (also disrupted by Macbeth) is reestablished. And—this might be a stretch, but you know who else is now free, or almost? The audience. Their time is back on track, too. Given how much Shakespeare liked to talk about plays and acting, we think it's a reasonable interpretation. Do you buy it?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...