How Does Macduff Respond to the News of His Family?

Macduff is a loyal thane to King Duncan, and is horrified when he learns of the murder of Duncan and his family. He immediately leaves for England to raise an army to overthrow Macbeth.

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Introduction

In this scene, Macduff has just learned that his wife and children have been killed by Macbeth’s men. He is understandably distraught and his reaction provides a window into his character.

First, we see that Macduff is a family man who loves his wife and children. This is evident in the way he talks about them and in the deep pain he feels at their loss. He is also a man of action, as shown by his immediates desire to take revenge on Macbeth. Finally, Macduff is a good speaker, able to express himself clearly even in the midst of his grief.

The passage below comes from Act IV, Scene iii of Macbeth.

MACDUFF: O horror! O no! What, all my pretty chickens and their dam At one fell swoop? (4.3.215-217)

Here, we seeMacduff’s reaction to the news of his family’s death. He is horrified and immediately wants to take action. This shows us that he is not only a family man, but also a man of action who will not simply sit by and do nothing in the face of evil.

Macduff’s Reaction

When Macduff learns of the slaughter of his wife and children, he is understandably distraught. He tears his clothes, rages, weeps, and faints. This tragedy strikes Macduff especially hard because he loved his family dearly and had left them behind in Scotland to go to England. While he is grieving, he also knows that he must avenge their deaths.

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Disbelief

Macduff’s initial reaction to the news of his family’s death is one of disbelief. He cannot believe that they are gone and keeps hoping that they will return. This is evident in his speech when he says, “What, all my pretty chickens and their dam / At one fell swoop?” He is in denial about what has happened and keeps hoping against hope that it is not true.

Horror

Macduff’s reaction to the news of his family’s death is one of horror. He is devastated by the news and can barely speak. His wife tries to comfort him, but he is inconsolable.

Guilt

Macduff’s reaction to the news of his family is one of guilt. He feels guilty for having survived when they did not. He also feels guilty for being able to mourn their deaths while they are still alive. In addition, Macduff feels guilty for being able to return to his home and continue his life while his family is dead.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Macduff’s reaction to the news of his family’s death is one of shock, disbelief, and devastation. He immediately blames himself for not being there to protect them and vows to take revenge on Macbeth. This tragedy transforms Macduff from a loyal subject of Duncan to a fierce enemy of Macbeth, which plays a pivotal role in the events that lead to Macbeth’s downfall.

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