What crime is committed in Act IV, and how is it different from the crimes that happened in the first three acts?How is it worse than the previous crimes? please teachers if anyone could make a...

What crime is committed in Act IV, and how is it different from the crimes that happened in the first three acts?

How is it worse than the previous crimes? please teachers if anyone could make a favor :)

Expert Answers
pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act IV scene II, MacDuff's wife and son are brutally murdered.  This marks a change in Macbeth, for though he has killed before, this is the first time he has killed a child and this is the first time the audience has witnessed the murder.  Remember, Duncan was killed off stage and Banquo was killed in the dark. 

 

The murder also shows Macbeth is no longer depending on his wife for the courage to kill.  She had to twist his arm to kill Duncan, but now he is planning and killing people all on his own.  He kills MacDuff's family because he knows that MacDuff has fled to England where Malcom is.  He wants to kill his family as a warning to not come back to Scotland.  The witches' apparition told him to "beware MacDuff" so he thinks this is a preemptive strike.

FIRST APPARITION:Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff;
Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.
When the apparition tells Macbeth not to fear any one born from a woman, he feels confidant, but decides it better to make a message and plans to kill MacDuff and his family.

MACBETH:Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee?
But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live,
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder. Thunder. Third Apparition; a Child Crowned, with a tree in his hand.(95)
What is this,
That rises like the issue of a king,
And wears upon his baby brow the round
And top of sovereignty?
kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To answer this question, take a look at act 4, scene 2. In this scene, Macbeth commits the crime of murdering Lady Macduff and her son by sending his henchmen to kill them.

Arguably, this crime is worse than any of the crimes that Macbeth committed in the first three acts of the play, such as the killing King Duncan and Banquo. The reason for this is that Lady Macduff and her son are innocent of any wrongdoing. They have done nothing to threaten Macbeth or his position as king. In reality, the only "crime" that they are guilty of is being related to Macduff.

This crime, therefore, provides an example of Macbeth's tyranny. Through the murder of Lady Macduff and her son, Shakespeare shows the reader that Macbeth is prepared to use violence against anyone he deems as a threat, even an innocent woman and her child.