In Macbeth, what are the conditions in Scotland after King Duncan is murdered and Macbeth has been crowned?

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Macbeth assumes the throne, he tightens his grip on Scotland and acts to destroy opposition to his rule. Malcolm and Donalbain cannot return home until they come back with an army to defeat the tyrant. Banquo has been murdered at Macbeth's order, and his son Fleance was marked to die, as well, although he managed to escape. In an act of complete depravity, Macbeth ordered the slaughter of Macduff's entire family--wife and children--along with every person who made up Macduff's household. Even before he learned of the massacre of his family and servants, Macduff knew Macbeth for the monster he was:

Not in the legions

Of horrid hell can come a devil more damned

In evils to top Macbeth.

Living under Macbeth's tyranny, Scotland's only hope lies in Malcolm's attempts to gain the help of the English in overthrowing Macbeth. Malcolm was in England, living in the English court, trying to enlist the aid of Edward the Confessor, King of England. In discussing Malcom's efforts, Lennox expressed the importance of his succeeding:

Some holy angel

Fly to the court of England and unfold

His message ere he come, that a swift blessing

May soon return to this our suffering country

Under a hand accursed!

When Malcom does raise the English army, which unites with the Scots who have rebelled against Macbeth, Macbeth is defeated and killed in battle. Malcolm regains the throne that is rightfully his, and Scotland's nightmare ends.

kc4u | Student

After the murder of king Duncan & the escape of Malcolm and Donalbain, Macbeth assumes kingship. Driven by a sense of insecurity and fear, Macbeth appoints murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. Banquo is put to death but Fleance escapes. In act 3 sc.6,'another Lord' first refers to Macbeth as 'tyrant' and confides to Lennox how Scotland under Macbeth's tyrannical rule has become a seat of persecution and terror in sharp contrast to England where Macduff has gone to seek the support of 'the holy king':

"........................................Thither Macduff

Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid

To wake Northumberland and warlike Seward:

That by the help of these, with him above

To ratify the work, 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 honours:

All which we pine for now."

In act 4 sc.2, Ross tries to argue in support of Macduff's passage to England with reference to the conditions in Scotland under Macbeth's despotic rule:

" But cruel are the times, when we are traitors

And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour

From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,

But float upon a wild and violent sea

Each way and move."

But perhaps the most telling comment on the miserable conditions in Scotland in the post-Duncan era comes from Macduff in act 4 sc.3:

" .................................Each new morn

New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows

Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds

As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd out

Like syllable of dolour."


zeewee48 | Student

basically scottland is under acbeths terrible rule and banquo is dead with his son fleance who has fled, and macduffs family and everyone in his housegold has been murdered.Also, scottland is dying under macbeths tyrannical rule