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Macduff in Macbeth: Traits, Character Analysis & Monologue

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  • 0:02 Macduff's Loyalty
  • 0:27 Character Analysis
  • 3:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shamekia Thomas

Shamekia has taught English at the secondary level and has her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' tells the story of Macbeth's rise as king and his eventual murder by a man named Macduff. Learn more about the character Macduff and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Macduff's Loyalty

How loyal are you to your country? How far would you go to ensure the people in power are leading honorable lives of duty? In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, the character Macduff takes his loyalty to his country to the extreme. He is motivated to kill Macbeth because he feels he needs to rid the country of a dishonorable, destructive king.

Character Analysis

Macduff, the Thane of Fife, is a nobleman who is loyal to his country and family. Macduff has the respect of others when he speaks. He is outraged at the murder of King Duncan. After the death, Macduff states, '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 / the life o' the building!' (Act 2, Scene 3). Macduff mourns the loss of the king but also the loss of a great man.

Macduff is also smart enough to become suspicious of the actions of others following the death of the king. He decides to be brave and flee Scotland when he realizes odd things are happening with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's behavior. He does not flee because he is a coward; he wants to help Malcolm, the rightful king, in his development of an army to take down Macbeth.

After Macduff goes to England, Macbeth kills his family and destroys his home. Macduff is hurt by this action, but he is brave, so he maintains his composure and desire to destroy Macbeth. Macduff states, 'all my pretty ones? … all my pretty chickens and their dam / at one fell swoop?' (Act 4, Scene 4). Macduff knows he will 'feel it as a man' but not lose sight of his goal.

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