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Macduff Character Analysis
Transcript of Macduff Character Analysis
By Justin Chan & Hochi Tam
Macduff's role in the play
How does the character of Macduff help convey Shakespeare's message of the play
Macbeth is a story about how ambition could be very destructive. Shakespeare conveys this message through the character of Macbeth by showing how his ambition of gain more power and recognition changed him such as by causing him to murder people and carry out evil deeds.
Macduff plays the role of the hero to stop Macbeth’s rule. In Shakespeare's message of the destructive power of ambition, Macduff could be shown as the one who isn't affected by ambition as despite his great strength and qualities he does not sought a higher rank but instead stays loyal to his country.
Macduff as a light of hope within the darkness
Contrasting to Macbeth, Macduff is driven instead by emotion and not Ambition
The emotion he has is grief and the urge to sought revenge for his wife and young son whom were murdered by Macbeth. This along with his loyalty to his country fueled the determination he has to kill Macbeth
“All my pretty ones”, “What, all my pretty chickens and their dam At one fell swoop”-
This quote is spoken by Macduff upon hearing about the murder of his wife and son. He gives off a hint of emotion by referring to them as pretty chickens.
“I will do so. But I must also feel it as a man” - u
pon hearing the news of the murder of his family Malcolm first tells Macduff to dispute it like a man. However with Macduff's response as quoted above to feel it as a man indicates the flood of emotion he has.
The audience can compare this to Macbeth who is one who has shown no feelings or emotions even after committing murder
"feel it as a man"
could be interpreted as portraying how in the past, men were actually the ones who were emotional as he has to feel deeply upon the murder. This is contrasting to the present idea of women being more emotional
Rivalry With Macbeth
Macbeth and Macduff are clearly the two enemies in the play as they each sought to get rid of the other with Macduff resulting the victory in the end
A Scottish Nobleman, also known as the Thane of Fife
Macduff plays the role of the hero in the play as he ends the tyranny of Macbeth's rule of Scotland
Could be seen as one of the key protagonists as without Macduff there wouldn't be a crusade against Macbeth.
Malcolm the son of Duncan and rightful heir to the throne is displayed to be weak as he flees the country right after King Duncan was murdered It was with Macduff beside Malcolm's side that Malcolm was able to have the courage to retaliate against Macbeth
As shown previoulsy Macduff is presented to the audience of the play as the light of hope in the dark rule of Macbeth. It is with his bravery and strength they are able to lead a crusade against Macbeth.
In Act 2 Scene 3 when Macduff knocks on the doors of Macbeth’s castle, he is portrayed to be like a figure of christ that is knocking on the doors of hell (Macbeth's castle) to release the souls - "
This imagery is called Harrowing of Hell"
Macduff is prepared to leave the country but visits Macbeth's castle. As he questions the porter, the porter is quoted to say
“but I requited him for his lie; and, I think, being too strong for him, though he took up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast him.” The torture the porter is recieved could be shown as one of the souls trapped within Macbeth's Castle
Overall Macduff can be seen as a mixture between King Duncan and Macbeth.
Duncan is shown to have feelings but takes no decisive actions while Macbeth has actions without any feelings.
Therefore the fact that Macbeth has a mixture of both qualities raises the question of why doesn't Macduff become the King. This is because he believes in his rightful spot is in serving his country and his King
The other key comparison brought out by Macduff to Macbeth is that Macduff is much more like a human while the changed Macbeth has turned almost into an animal.
“I have no words; my voice is in my sword”
Loyalty to Country and King
-”The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
- This is the indication of Macduff's hatred towards Macbeth after he finds out about the murder of his family. The use of Tyrant already indicates his hatred towards Macbeth.
- “from his mother’s womb / Untimely ripped”
- As Macduff was C-sectioned when he was born he is percieved to be able to slay Macbeth therefore early on setting him as a key challenge to Macbeth
- “Then yield thee, coward, / And live to be the show and gaze o' the time" -
These are the words said by Macduff as he kills Macbeth. He expresses his disgust but also satisfaction as he finally kills the tyrant
One key characteristic held by Macduff is the importance of loyalty to his country and the King. Throughout the play he simply plays as the hero to save Scotland but never shown to act in greed to obtain the crown of the King.
-"O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart/ Cannot conceive nor name thee! Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence" -
these are the lines first said by Macduff as he discovers King Duncan's body first. He is at a complete lost of words and is in shock showing the value of the King to him. He is shown to mourn more than anyone else in the building including Malcolm again reinforcing the idea that he loves his country dearly and cares greatly for the King
- “Hail, king! for so thou art: behold, where stands/ The usurper's cursed head: the time is free
Along with being the one to first discover the body he also pronounces Malcolm as the new King. This connection between the deaths of the last king and the crowning of the new King not only indicates his closeness to the Kings but the important role he plays for the country
A notable characteristic of Macduff is his keen observing skills. This is shown most clearly when although he is truly despaired about Duncan's death he was the only one who questions Macbeth's actions on murdering the guards
“Wherefore did you so?”- here after Macbeth mentions to have murdered the guards responsible for Duncan, Macduff is the only one to question him for his actions. This is the first act of suspicion he has that it has been Macbeth’s deeds
This could also be an indicator of his determination since the beginning of the murder to sought justice fo his king.