Young Siward

[This is an annotated list of all appearances and all mentions of Young Siward.]

Source: flickr: JustSooz

As the Scottish forces march to join the English in Birnam wood, Lennox comments that among the English "there is Siward's son, / And many unrough youths that even now / Protest their first of manhood" (5.2.9-11). "Unrough youths" are those who are so young that they have yet to grow beards. In this context, "protest" means almost the opposite of what it does now; rather than complaining about their manhood, these youths are ready to prove that they are men. If Young Siward is also an unrough youth, he is only fifteen or sixteen, which would make his death at the hands of Macbeth very poignant. [Scene Summary]

Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers, marching(5.4.1, s.d.). He says nothing, but Young Siward is with the joint Scottish and English forces that enter Birnam wood before Macbeth's castle. [Scene Summary]

As the charge against Dunsinane is about to begin, Malcolm gives the order for Siward and his son to take the lead with the first battalion: "You, worthy uncle, / Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son, / Lead our first battle" (5.6.2-4). The stage directions for this scene do not mention Young Siward, but he could be present, so that we could see him just before he dies in battle with Macbeth. [Scene Summary]

During Macbeth's final battle, Young Siward finds Macbeth alone, and asks "What is thy name?" Macbeth answers, "Thou'lt be afraid to hear it" (5.7.5). Young Siward responds that he's afraid of no one, but Macbeth tells him his name and again says that it's a fearful name. Young Siward responds, "Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword / I'll prove the lie thou speak'st" (5.7.10-11). Then they fight, and Macbeth kills the boy. [Scene Summary]

In the last scene of the play, Ross gives Siward the news of his son's death:
Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt:
He only lived but till he was a man;
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd
In the unshrinking station where he fought,
But like a man he died.   (5.8.39-43)
Siward thanks God that his son died bravely and in a good cause. [Scene Summary]