Macduff is the thane of fife, the foil to Macbeth, and the greatest patriot of Scotland during the play. He first appears in act one scene six, the King Duncan and the nobleman come to Macbeths castle. Macduff’s fellow noblemen marvel about the greatness of Macbeth’s castle, though Macduff stays silent throughout the scene. This is generally how Macduff acts; only speaking when spoken to, and not making unnecessary conversation. In act two scene three Macduff and Lennox come to wake the king and he is the one to make the discovery that the king has been murdered.
He exclaims to Macbeth and Banquo what has happened, saying that the King is the Lord’s appointed temple. This is common in the time period of the play, that is to believe the Kings power comes from God. When people begin to come to the scene Lady Macbeth asks him what has happened, he does not tell her the truth whilst saying the fact that she is a woman makes her too gentle for such things. Irony. Macbeth then speaks about the death and Macduff overhears him saying he had murdered the guards, but when asked about it he avoids the question. Macduff also asks for someone to take care of Lady Macbeth as she seems “faint”.
This scene is very important as it brings up three very important things. The King had trusted Macduff, enough that he would have him come and wake him. Macduff believes that woman are weak. And Macduff earnestly believes that Macbeth was telling the truth about the murder of Duncan. This last fact is reinforced in the next scene where Macduff and Ross are speaking and Macduff tell him that the murderers are dead by Macbeth. He says that “Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons, are stol’n away and fled; which puts upon them suspicion of the deed. ” (2. 4). He next tells Ross that he is going home to Fife rather than to the coronation.
This shows that he is still stricken in grief over the death of the king. In the coming weeks Macbeth is to host a party as the new king, with the entire nobleman invited. Though, Macduff is not in appearance, upsetting Macbeth as he asked for his help when he learnt Malcolm meant to dethrone him. In act four scene three it becomes apparent as to where Macduff is when he actually meets with Malcolm to form an alliance. Malcolm is depressed about the state of Scotland and how it has changed with Macbeth as king.
Macduff acts like a father to him and then states that they should form an army to take down Macbeth and that Malcolm hould lead it. Malcolm then tests him by saying that he would be unfit for king and describing himself as a horrible person. Macduff takes back the offer only to be surprised by Malcolm admitting he was testing him and tells him has already gained the strength of England. Macduff describes his feelings as “Such welcome and unwelcome things at once / ‘Tis hard to reconcile” (4. 3). This conversation shows Macduff for the patriot that he is. He cares about the fate of his homeland, and though he does not predict Macbeth of the murder of Duncan, he still wants him to be dethroned for the sake of Scotland.
Ross then meets with Macduff and Malcolm and Macduff questions him about how his family has fared without him. Ross feeds around the bush and says he has bad news, just after saying his family was well. He tells Macduff that his wife and children are murdered. Macduff believes he is to blame for the deaths as he left. He also exclaims that there is no way to take revenge on the child killer, as Macbeth has no children. A continual point brought up in the play. Malcolm then takes the fatherly figure, that Macduff had just taken to him, and encourages him to get revenge on Macbeth.
Macduff then says that he will be the one to kill Macbeth. In act five scene four Macduff and the others are in Birnam Wood with the army. They make plans but Macduff is very quiet, determined to be the one who kills Macbeth. He does caution them though that “Let our just censures attend the true event, and put we on Industrious soldiership” (5. 4). Meaning that they should be wary of the true outcome before they believe they won. They enter the castle in scene seven and Macduff seeks out Macbeth, ignoring all other beings there. “Let me find him, Fortune! And more I beg not” (5. 7).
They finally meet and Macbeth tells him to leave, as he already has so much of his blood. Macduff says that he has no words for him and that he will let his sword be his voice. Macduff then tells Macbeth that his prophecy does not protect from him, as he had to be removed from his mother by C-section and thusly is not “Woman-born”. He then fights Macbeth to the death. He reappears in scene nine with Macbeth’s head and announces that Malcolm is now the king of Scotland. Macduff is motivated by his patriotism, and his love for his country. He is a flat main character, whereas he has no major changes throughout the play.
He fights for what he believes and his actions have effects on the other characters. Though he did not suspect Macbeth as to being a traitor and killing Duncan, he did not think that he was fit to rule the state. His actual anger to Macbeth came with the slaughter of his family. It serves as more motivation for him, and without it Macbeth may have lived through the final battle. Throughout the play you see that Macduff has always been the foil to Macbeth, causing the worry in him that overthrew his rule, and that Macduff is the hero that Scotland needed.