essaysThe Essential Macduff in Macbeth Like in all (or most) Shakespeare plays, there is always a hero that overcomes evil supernatural forces.
Macduff is this essential character in this play. His loyalty and patriotism to his dear country, Scotland, is more exceeding unlike the likes of the other Scottish nobles, Macduff was devastated by the murder of his dear king, and he also somewhat sacrifices his family for his country. These three transactions add up to one hell of an admirable hero.
Conflict of forces is reflected in the character of Macduff. Duncans murder is discovered by his loyal supporter Macduff. It is the intensity of his devotion to the king that brings him to the castle just at the time of the murder and makes him the first to see the dead body, “The Lords anointed temple” (Act II, Scene3, 67) as he calls it.
Had Macduffs loyalty been supported by corresponding strength he could have come in time to save Duncan. But as Duncan displays goodness and virtue without sufficient power to maintain his rule, Macduffs capacity for pure loyalty is not combined with the strength required to express it. When soon afterwards he goes to England in support of Duncans son Malcolm, his wife and children are left to be murdered by Macbeth. His personality lacks the energy to sustain both the commitments of his loyal heart. In expressing his loyalty to the dead king he ignores his equally great commitment to protect his family. Macduff returns from the scene of Duncans murder crying “O Horror, horror, horror!” (Act II, Scene3, 63) The response of the other lords is revealing. Lennox simply asks “Mean you his majesty?” (Act II, Scene3, 70), no more.
The kings sons arrive. Donalbain is silent. Malcolm says “O, by whom?” (Act II, Scene3, 100) Except for Macduff, there is no expression of horror, outrage or grief by those present.
In the interview with Lady Macduff, Ross describes her husband as “noble, wise, judicious” (Act IV, Scene2, 16) one whom “best knows the fits o the season” (Act IV, Scene2, 17). Why then, did Macduff leave his wife and family unprotected? Perhaps, there was a conflict of loyalties in- love of country vs. love of family- in his heart; realist though he was, Macduff may not have believed that Macbeth would stoop to such brutality and wickedness as the murder of women and children. Out of his great and terrible grief comes the vow of vengeance that is fulfilled at the end of the play. The scene of the testing of Macduff, which follows the savage murder of his household, brings out many of his noble characteristics; his blunt honesty, his great patriotism, his true integrity, and the strength with which he masters his overwhelming grief make him a sympathetic and admirable character.
He is throughout “a man faithful and honorable” (unknown). Macduff was Duncans most loyal follower, his right hand man, and vastly patriotic to his good country by sacrificing his own beloved family. Him defeating the corrupt evil within Dunsinane, by passes him with vengeance and Macbeths head. For these various reasons, with evidence and meaning, Macduff is the most loyal subject known to mankind (?).
Therefore we can say that Macduff is the undisputed hero in the play, Macbeth