Why could Macduff kill Macbeth?

Macduff could kill Macbeth because he was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb in a cesarean birth. The witches' prophecy states that no man born of a woman can harm Macbeth, but since Macduff was not "naturally" born of a woman, he is able to slay Macbeth in their final confrontation.

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After Macbeth becomes king, he grows increasingly paranoid. Consumed by the desire to maintain his position of power, he constantly looks for signs of disloyalty in his thanes and even hires assassins to murder his potential political enemies or those (like Banquo) whom he judges to be threats. During ...

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After Macbeth becomes king, he grows increasingly paranoid. Consumed by the desire to maintain his position of power, he constantly looks for signs of disloyalty in his thanes and even hires assassins to murder his potential political enemies or those (like Banquo) whom he judges to be threats. During Macbeth's reign of terror, Macduff leaves Scotland and travels to England, where he petitions Malcolm (the son of the former king) to return home and challenge Macbeth for the throne.

Determined to secure his reign, Macbeth consults the three witches in act 4, scene 1. When Macbeth meets with the witches for the second time, he demands that they give him more information about his future, and the witches conjure several apparitions and offer Macbeth seemingly favorable prophecies.

The second of these apparitions tells Macbeth to "be bloody, bold, and resolute" because "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth." Macbeth interprets this prophecy to mean that no one on earth can defeat him, because everyone is naturally born of a woman. Convinced of his own invincibility, Macbeth leaves the witches feeling reassured.

In the final battle of act 5, scene 8, Macbeth comes face-to-face with Macduff, his great rival. Macbeth warns his enemy that he has "a charmèd life," which must not yield "to one of woman born." However, Macbeth does not realize that Macduff had a cesarean birth and was thus "from his mother’s womb / Untimely ripped." This was not considered a natural birth at the time, and so since Macduff was not naturally born of a woman, the protection of the prophecy doesn't apply to him. When Macduff announces this, Macbeth realizes that the witches have misled him, but he still refuses to yield. The two men duel, and Macduff proceeds to kill Macbeth, later walking onto the stage holding the deceased tyrant's head.

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