What weaknesses and strengths does Malcolm show in his attempts to spur on Macduff after the two learn of the killing of Macduff's wife and children?William Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Macbeth," Malcom suggests that Macduff avenge the death of the children: 

Be comforted./Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge./To cure this deadly grief.

Macduff observes that Malcom must not have any children since he can think of no one else

He has no children...What, all my pretty chickens and their dam/At one fell swoop! (IV, iii, 69-70)

Malcolm continues, encouraging Macduff,

'Dispute it like a man." (IV,1v, 71) 

He tells Macduff to let this grief be the

Whetstone of your sword.  Let grief/Convert to griel, blunty not the heart, enrage it.(IV,iv, 21-23)

This last speech works as MacDuff imagines himself as engaging with the "fied of Scotland and myself..."   He wishes that he could "Cut short all intermission" and have Macbeth himself appear so that he himself could cut the villain with his sword. 

While Malcolm shows strength in advising MacDuff to avenge the deaths of his wife and children, MacDuff imagining of himself as the avenger is a weakness in character since no one of his family has not been injured.