Sketch The Character Of Macduff In Macbeth

Macduff is unanimously recognized as a virtuous man, noble patriot, affectionate husband, and a brave warrior. He is quite free from the Just for power, from the germs of sin and vice and from covetous ambition which haunted his rival Macbeth and Banquo. In the words of Gervinus “Macduff is by nature, what Macbeth once was, a mixture of mildness and force, he is more than Macbeth. because he is without any admixture of ambition. So noble, so blameless, so mild, Macduff yet lacks the goad of sharp ambition necessary to make him a victorious opponent of Macbeth. The poet , therefore, by the terrible extermination of his family, drains him of the milk of human kindness, and so fits him to be the conqueror of Macbeth.” The most notable trait in the character of Macduff is his glowing and active patriotism. He has unwavering allegiance to the lawful King of Scotland. He refuses to participate in the coronation of Macbeth, the murderer and usurper of the throne of Scotland. He flies from the country and thus evokes open hostility of Macbeth. He has to pay heavily for his lack of direction because cruel Macbeth slaughters his helpless wife and young babe in his absence. It is his patriotic sense that impels him to run this risk. He directs all his efforts in England to persuade Malcolm to collect an army and regain his rightful throne by defeating Macbeth in the battlefield. His patriotic frenzy breaks forth in moving words before Malcolm in England –

…..each new morn

New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows

Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds

As if felt with Scotland yelled out

Like syllable of dolour.

When Malcolm affects unwillingness to return to Scotland against Macbeth, he heaves out.

Bleed, bleed, poor country!

Great tyranny! lay thou they basis sure

For goodness dare not check thee.

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Macduff is sometimes wrongly denounced as faithless and disloyal to his wife and children. It is doing him a great wrong to charge him of infidelity to his wife and children. That he greatly loved his wife and children is true beyond the shade of doubt. That he fled away to England leaving behind his family at the mercy of tyrant Macbeth was surely a grievous fault and grievously he did repent for it. But it does not mean that he did not love his wife. He was mortally grieved at the news of the murder of his wife and children-

Sinful Macduff.

They were all struck for thee! naughty that I am

 Not for their own demerits, but for mine

Fell slaughter on their souls Heaven rest them now.

Macduff is above all a great and fearless warrior.  He is a man of action. Challenging Macbeth on the battlefield he declared,

I have no words:

my voice is in my sword: than bloodier villain

Than terms can give thee out.

He kills Macbeth on the battlefield and pays back his debt to the Motherland. Boyler remarks in this connection. “It is significant that Macduff is made of the instrument of Macbeth’s death. Our pity and admiration for Macbeth have reached the highest pitch by the time of the death-scene, we forbade his doom but share his scorn of ordinary antagonists. It would be unthinkable for Malcolm to defeat him – Malcolm who fled the country on the first report of his father’s death, he has neither the physical strength nor the spirit to conquer the tyrant: it would he distressing if he did so. Macduff is the only man whose suffering has been portrayed as no less keen than Macbeth’s, the scene where he is told of the death of his wife and little one is exceptionally pathetic, his agony and the manful efforts he makes to bear it arouse both pity and admiration. Moreover, he is represented throughout as noble, courageous and absolutely incorruptible; the only man Macbeth’s equal in bravery, the only one, who on account of his nobility and suffering, could draw our sympathy from the hero in single combat. I think, we should rebel if any other man were permitted to overcome Macbeth.”



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