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Macduff says, "Oh Scotland, Scotland!"  Why?

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yamy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 6, 2007 at 9:53 AM via web

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Macduff says, "Oh Scotland, Scotland!"  Why?

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted December 6, 2007 at 11:49 AM (Answer #1)

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This occurs in Act IV, scene iii, when Macduff and Malcolm are speaking about the sad state of affairs in their beloved country of Scotland.  Malcolm, the son of the slain king Duncan and rightful heir to the throne, is testing the loyalty of Macduff, making sure that Macduff is really there to support him and his effort at raising an army to take the throne away from Macbeth.  This quote, "O Scotland, Scotland!" is a sincere, heartfelt plea of sadness at the state of his beloved country on the part of Macduff.

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted December 7, 2007 at 10:42 PM (Answer #2)

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Shakespeare wrote the play in part to please the new King of England, James I, who had previously been James VI of Scotland. Patriotic statements such as this one by Macduff can be seen in that historical context. One difficulty Shakespeare had with this play about a Scottish king was how to present regicide so as not to offend James I. He succeeded in doing this by making Banquo a sort of hero, and James' ancestors could be traced back to Banquo. "Oh Scotland, Scotland" would have been words particularly pleasing to the ear of James I.

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