Macduff - by Andrew Pompa

          Macduff in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare is one of the most important characters in the play. He acts as an antagonist towards Macbeth and also serves as an example of an avenging hero within the story by taking revenge for what atrocities Macbeth commits throughout the play.
          Throughout the play of Macbeth Macduff is seen as Macbeth’s antagonist or rival. We first see Macduff in Act II, Scene 3 when he comes to the Macbeth homestead to get King Duncan and realizes that he has been murdered. Macduff is the first to suspect Macbeth of murder when Macbeth says, “O, yet I do repent me of my fury, that I did kill them (Shakespeare: Act 2, scene 3, lines 124-125),” In response to the death of the chamberlains that Macbeth reveals that he has killed. Although they were the first main suspects of the murder of Duncan, Macduff could only wonder why they were killed without questioning and if their killing could be a cover up for Macbeth’s murder. Although his suspicion wanes as he and the other lords are convinced that Duncan’s sons were the real murderers and that they paid off the chamberlains, his suspicion returns when Banquo is mysteriously murdered. He then goes to Edward, king of England, in request of troops to fight Macbeth. Macbeth is now considered a tyrant by many of the lords and is also getting ready for war. Macbeth sends murderers to Macduff’s castle in Act 4 Scene 3 where Macduff’s entire family is then brutally murdered for  no reason, a sign that Macbeth has now completed his descent into madness. When given this terrible news Macduff becomes filled with grief and suffering, but is told by Malcolm to turn his grief into rage, which Macduff says he intends on doing. Finally after they reach Macbeth’s castle, Macduff goes to fight Macbeth when Macbeth says that no man born of women is able to kill him as the witches prophecy has said, but Macduff counters this with, “Tell thee Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped (Macbeth: Act 5, scene 8, lines 19-20],” meaning that he was not born of woman, but ripped from the womb at the incorrect time of birth, meaning that he can, and will, kill Macbeth, bringing their rivalry to an end.  Because of the suspicious acts and malicious murders of Macbeth, Macduff acts as a rival and an antagonist to Macbeth and ultimately brings his downfall to a complete circle.
          The character Macduff also acts as an avenging hero in the play Macbeth. An avenging hero is a hero who acts on actions of others towards him and looks for revenge. While we don’t see Macduff very often in the play he is of the highest significance in that he brings an end to Macbeth’s tyranny. When Macbeth finds that Macduff is going to get support from King Edward to fight Macbeth he sends murderers to kill Macduff’s whole family. When Macduff hears of this he is filled with grief and sorrow, but he doesn’t just sit and weep, rather he acts upon these atrocities committed towards him. He goes forth and looks to avenge his family’s murders by killing Macbeth. Although we had not learned about the idea and concept of an avenging hero in class, it is important that we understand that Macduff is in fact, a hero that is seeking for the revenge of others as well as his own revenge.
          In conclusion, Macduff is a very important character because he acts as Macbeth’s antagonist as well as gives us as the reader an idea of what an avenging hero is. Macduff is very interesting because he isn’t a character that we see often in the play, but ironically has one of if not the largest impact on Macbeth and the story, seeing that he goes to get England’s aid and is the one person that is able to vanquish Macbeth.