Who is Macdonwald in Macbeth and how does he die?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macdonwald is not a character who appears in the play. He is the leader of the rebel forces fighting against the King of Scotland. He is mentioned in Act I, scene 2, when Macbeth is praised for defeating Macdonwald in battle. Macbeth is given two new titles as a result of this victory. You might say this victory is actually the beginning of Macbeth's downfall.

Although the characters in this play are historical figures, the play itself does not follow historic fact. According to Raphael Holinshed, on whose chronicles Shakespeare based the play, knowing that he would be executed, Macdonwald retreated to his home, killed his wife and children, and then committed suicide. Macbeth found the bodies and decapitated the dead rebel.

Macdonwald  he was a former thane of Cowder who betrayed the Scothland he was killed by Macbeth sliced open from the navel to the jaw 

chanstarox | Student

Actually Vedad in some versions of the play mine in particular the Longman version of Macbeth it is a Captain (making both answers correct essentially Sergeant and Captain) who reports to Duncan. obviously not Macbeth or Banquo but a captain all the same. Everything else was correct by both Vedad and Jazzygirl!

vedad | Student

It wasn´nt actually the captains´ report,

as jazzgirl wrote. Ît was the  wounded seargent, who reported to Duncan of rebel MacDonwald, who was killed in the battle by Mcbeth personally. The captains r Mcbeth and Banquo.

Than reported the Thane of Ross

of The Thane of Cawdor another traitor, who was killed in the further development of the battle. How he was killed isn´t described.  But You  have to conclude from the   Duncan´s victory  over the  norways king.

ACT 1 Scene I,II,III.

x-jazzygirl-x | Student

MacDonwald is the leader of the rebels from the Western Isles they were attacking Scotland and as Duncan was too old to fight his cousin Macbeth did it for him. In the Captains report Macbeth is said to have “carved out his passage” through MacDonwald’s forces to get to him, Macbeth then “unseamed him [MacDonwald] from the nave to th’chaps” basically he sliced him open from his belly button to his jaw.

hackett888 | Student


You're actually wrong. Macbeth does become Thane of Cawdor, and the Thane of Cawdor was a traitor, but he wasn't Macdonwald. If you read Act 1 Scene 3, Macbeth is told that he is Thane of Cawdor, but he still thinks the Thane is alive and a gentleman. He has not yet been informed that the Thane of Cawdor has betrayed Duncan until that moment. 

yo-wassup-young300 | Student

Aight, all y'all wrong.m Actually, Macdonwald rebelled against King Duncan by siding with the King of Norway in their war. Macbeth and Banquo defeat him, and Macbeth brings his head to the Captain of Duncan's army. The Captain then tells Duncan of Macbeth's heroics and Duncan gives Macbeth Macdonwald's former title "Thane of Cawdor" as the witches prophesized. OUT!

parimaq | Student

Macdonwald is a rebel character who dies during the war with Macbeth.The play starts after his death in Act 1 where the witches tell about him.After his death, Macbeth becomes proud and Lady Macbeth instigates him to even kill Duncan.

The winning stratgey of Macdonwald is the root cause for killing Duncan which leads him to rule the state.He even kills his close friend Banquo in the state of pride .He ruins himself through all the killings.