role in the play
Macduff first speaks in the play in 2.3 when he discovers the corpse of King Duncan in Macbeth’s castle. He raises an alarm, informing the castle that the king has been murdered. Macduff begins to suspect Macbeth of regicide when Macbeth says, “O, yet I do repent me of my fury / That I did kill them” (2.3.103-104). Interestingly, Macduff’s name does not appear in this scene; rather, Banquo refers to him as “Dear Duff” (2.3.75). In 2.4 Macbeth has left for Scone, the ancient royal city where Scottish kings were crowned. Macduff, meanwhile, meets with Ross and an Old Man. He reveals that he will not be attending the coronation of Macbeth and will instead return to his home in Fife. However, Macduff flees to England to join Malcolm, the slain King Duncan’s elder son, and convinces him to return to Scotland and claim the throne. Macbeth, meanwhile, visits the Three Witches again after the spectre of Banquo appears at the royal banquet. The Witches warn Macbeth to “beware Macduff, beware the Thane of Fife” (4.1.87-88). Furthermore, they inform him that, “The power of man, for none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth” (4.1.96-97). Macbeth, fearing for his position as King of Scotland, orders the deaths of Macduff's wife, children and relatives. Macduff, who is still in England, learns of his family’s deaths through Ross, another Scottish thane. He joins Malcolm, and they return to Scotland with their English allies to face Macbeth at Dunsinane Castle. After Macbeth slays the young Siward, Macduff confronts Macbeth. Although Macbeth believes that he cannot be killed by any man born of a woman, he soon learns that Macduff was “from his mother’s womb / Untimely ripped” (5.10.15-16). The two fight, and Macduff slays Macbeth offstage. Macduff ultimately presents Macbeth’s head to Malcolm, hailing him as king and calling on the other thanes to declare their allegiance with him (5.11.20-25).
Macduff as a foil to Macbeth
As a supporting character, Macduff...
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