In the play Macbeth, why has Macduff come to England?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Malcolm, Duncan's elder son, flees to England right after his father's murder because he is afraid that whoever murdered his father will want to murder him and his brother Donalbain in order to claim the throne. The complete explanation for Macduff's flight to England is contained in a passage in Act 3, Scene 6, lines 28-43. According to this speech by a Scottish Lord, Malcolm is living in the English court. "Thither Macduff / Is gone to pray the holy king upon his aid / To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward / That, by the help of these . . . / we may again / Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights, / Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives, / Do faithful homage, and receive free honors, / All which we pine for now." The English king will raise the army that ultimately overthrows Macbeth. Macduff's flight causes Macbeth to send armed men to murder his wife and children. (See Act 4, Scene 2) Macduff seeks out Macbeth on the battlefield and kills him in their death duel at the end of the play.