What speech would Macduff make a speech at Macbeth's funeral in "Macbeth"?Imagine Macduff was asked to make a speech at Macbeth's funeral. What speech would he make?
The final view we have of Macduff shows him (in the Folger edition) carrying Macbeth’s head on stage, indicating he not only killed him in battle but cut off his head afterwards. In fact, during the battle scene just a few lines previous to this, the stage directions (in the Folgers edition) say “Macduff exits carrying off Macbeth’s body,” meaning he cuts off Macbeth’s head off stage, necessary in terms of stagecraft, but unnecessary in terms of action for Macbeth is already dead. Of course, Macduff has an extra grudge here in that Macbeth needlessly killed his family, so his need for revenge and anger are great. As a result, this act symbolically emasculates Macbeth and completely dehumanizes him, which we might think appropriate given Macbeth’s egregious acts throughout the play. However, it also marks Macduff as surpassing Macbeth in being a warrior, which is how we meet Macbeth at the beginning of the play—a great warrior. For these reasons, I think his funeral speech would do more than warn against the “vaulting ambition” and cruelty of Macbeth; it would also speak vociferously to his onerous crimes before it moved forward to show Malcolm as the opposite of Macbeth, similar to the way he does just this in Act 4.
Clever. Macduff is a patriot and wants the best for his country. Remember in Act 4 he shouted out, "Bleed, bleed poor country." He is driven to bring Malcolm home because he hates what Macbeth has done to the Scotland he has known and loved; so driven, in fact, that he leaves his family alone and loses them as a result. His patriotism makes him hate Macbeth for the crimes he has committed and for the tyrannical leader he quickly becomes.
In addition, Macduff is practical. His conversation in Act 4 when trying to convince Malcolm to return to Scotland shows that Macduff is a realist. He knows that leaders won't be without faults and accepts it.
Thus, his speech at Macbeth's funeral would likely be a speech of caution and pride. He would warn others against following the path that Macbeth followed, showing how it led to Macbeth's demise. He would then show pride for his country by praising the return of the rightful king and the end of Macbeth's tyranny. He would encourage the guests to let go of the fear that has been brought into their lives and work together for a better Scotland.
I don't think they would have a funeral, and if they did Macduff would certainly not speak at it. After all, the person who beheads you does not usually give a speech at your funeral. I suppose he might say something along the lines of, "GOOD RIDDANCE! We have finally rid ourselves of this scourge." Here is what he actually did say.
The time is free.
I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl(65)
That speak my salutation in their minds,
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine:
Hail, King of Scotland! (Act 5, Scene 7, p. 90 enotes etext pdf)
He says this holding up Macbeth’s head. I think this was enough of a speech. Macduff is a good honest man, but he seems to be a man of few words. At this point, it is time to move on in the kingdom.
I can't imagine Macduff being willing to participate in Macbeth's funeral in any capacity, except that of making the funeral necessary to start with. But I suppose that if he absolutely had to speak he'd say something along the lines of "Macbeth got what he deserved." If he wanted to be cliche', he might say, "Macbeth lived by the sword and died by it."
I don't think they would have a funeral, and if they did Macduff would certainly not speak at it. After all, the person who beheads you does not usually give a speech at your funeral. I suppose he might say something along the lines of, "GOOD RIDDANCE! We have finally rid ourselves of this scourge."