In Shakespeare's Macbeth, what does Macduff vow to do to Macbeth? And why? 

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dule05's profile pic

dule05 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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Macbeth is looked upon as a cold-blooded murderer who is determined to get rid of anyone who could potentially jeopardize his position as the king of Scotland. He murders many people directly or indirectly, including Banquo, Duncan, and most importantly, Macduff's family.Macbeth is plagued by the fear that others will want him eliminated and decides to have the whole family of Macduff murdered. He does this because the witches warn him that he should be aware of Macduff:

Beware Macduff;
Beware the thane of Fife.

This event prompts Macduff to seek revenge, and he manages to exact his revenge on Macbeth at the end of the play when he kills him in the battle.

Nevertheless, the murder of Macduff's family is not the reason why Macduff wants to have Macbeth defeated. Macduff is aware that Macbeth did not take the throne rightfully, so he chooses not to attend Macbeth's coronation. He wants to restore order and peace in Scotland. And this can only be done if Macbeth is overthrown. Eventually, Macduff manages to achieve his plan with the help of Malcolm.

luannw's profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Macduff's first impulse is to wallow in his grief when Ross delivers the news that Macbeth has had Macduff's family killed, but Malcolm tells him to channel his grief into anger and aim it at Macbeth.  With those words from Malcolm, Macduff swears he will battle Macbeth.

dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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At the end of Act IV, Macduff vows to overthrow Macbeth and return Scotland to the rule of the people.  A Scottish nobleman and friends with Duncan and Malcolm, Macduff is the first to suspect Macbeth's role in the demise of Duncan, and he also knows Macbeth has murdered Banquo.  Macbeth, having been told by the witches to beware of Macduff, has had Macduff's family killed as well.  It is after this final event that Macduff resolves to enact vengeance on the ruthless, tyranical ruler and restore peace to Scotland under Malcolm.


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