How does Macduff deal with the news of the death of his family and what does it show about him?  

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Macduff first seems to experience something like disbelief. He keeps asking about who was killed: all his children? his wife too? and so on. He says of Macbeth, "He has no children," as though he's thinking that there is no way Macbeth could understand just how devastating this...

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Macduff first seems to experience something like disbelief. He keeps asking about who was killed: all his children? his wife too? and so on. He says of Macbeth, "He has no children," as though he's thinking that there is no way Macbeth could understand just how devastating this would be to him (4.3.255). Perhaps Macduff is thinking that Macbeth wants to spoil everyone's legacy because he himself will have none. He goes on, claiming that he will act on his grief, certainly, "But [he] must also feel it as a man" (4.3.261). Often, people associate being "a man" with not showing emotion, but Macduff seems to feel just the opposite: a real man is one who feels deeply and allows himself to have and honor those feelings. He grieves that those who "were most precious" to him are gone, and he cannot believe that God allowed Macbeth to do such a horrible thing (4.3.263). He vows that he will kill Macbeth himself now. Before, he seemed only to want to depose the tyrant, but now, he says,

Front to front
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself.
Within my sword's length set him. (4.3.272–274)

I think this shows us just how honorable Macduff truly is. It never occurred to him that he was leaving his wife and children vulnerable and unprotected because he could not imagine someone doing something so dishonorable as to attack them because they take issue with him. He is honorable, and, as a result, he expected Macbeth to behave honorably as well. This is why he is so shocked and incensed when Macbeth murders his family.

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When MacDuff learns that his family has been murdered, he is shocked and hurt.  His outrage only sparks his desire to get revenge for Malcolm and return the rightful heir to the throne.

Ross must journey to England in order to relay the news of his family's murder.  MacDuff has already left for England to convince Malcolm to return and to get the king of England to support their disposal of the tyrant Macbeth with troops.  By going to England for Malcolm, we know that MacDuff is a loyal countryman and that he wants the best for his people.  By being so upset about his family's cruel, and unnecessary murders, we also see him as the devoted and loving family man.

It is from Malcolm's reaction that we see the degree to which MacDuff's upset.

MALCOLM: Merciful heaven! What, man! Ne'er pull your hat upon your brows; Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak Whispers the o'er fraught heart, and bids it break.

 

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