In most of Shakespeare’s plays, there is always the battle between good and evil. A hero who would overcome evil supernatural forces. Macduff is this essential character in the play Macbeth. Macduff is given no importance at the start of the play, but grows to be a hero in the end who is the ‘saviour’ of Scotland. His role throughout the play is important as he is the one who discovers Duncan’s murder first and slaughters Macbeth in the end for Scotland and for his own revenge.
As Macbeth takes the throne after murdering the king, Macduff flees to England in support of Duncan’s son Malcolm. His loyalty to the king’s family remains even after Duncan’s murder. While he is faithful to Scotland, he fails to protect his own family who finally are brutally murdered by Macbeth. In expressing his loyalty to Scotland, he ignored his equally great commitment to protect his wife and children.
As Ross interviews Lady Macduff, she describes her husband as being “noble, wise, judicious” on whom “best knows the fits o’ the season”. This certainly does not explain why Macduff abandoned his unprotected family. Maybe it was due to his own conflict of loyalties – love for his country vs. love for his family. Lady Macduff being a loving wife, does not know what to think as she learns that her husband has fled from Scotland without a word to her. Although she accuses him of not loving his family and of being a traitor, she indicates to her son that she does not quite believe what she says.
When the murderers enter, she shows loyalty to her husband and makes no attempt to save her own life. As the murderers demand “where is your husband?”, Lady Macduff replies, “I hope in no place so unsanctified…”, without a thought for her life. In her distress and confusion, she and her son, in loyalty to Macduff die as innocent people who are mindlessly slaughtered by Macbeth.