In Macbeth, how are the people of Scotland affected after King Duncan's murder?

Expert Answers
Chase Burns eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Immediately after King Duncan's death, the entire castle erupts into a flurry of emotion and horror. Since these responses are personal and anecdotal, it can be difficult to discern how the death of King Duncan affects the country. In order to find out how the entire country is affected, it is helpful to look at Act 4, scene 3 and the exchanges between Malcolm and Macduff. 

In Act 4, scene 3, Macduff describes the state of the nation:

MACDUFF: Each new morn / New windows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows / Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds / As it felt with Scotland, and yelled out / Like syllable of dolor. (IV.iii.5-9)

Macduff has been shown to be a trustworthy character within the play, so his descriptions can be believed. It appears that Scotland has fallen apart with the death of King Duncan. The fighting has killed many of the men in the country and created "new orphans." Macduff describes Scotland as a soldier straddling a fallen comrade while also fighting the comrade's attackers ("Let us rather / Hold fast the mortal sword and, like good men, / Bestride our downfall'n birthdom," IV.iii.3-4). This image can be helpful when trying to imagine Scotland after Duncan's death.