Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Shakespeare has made Macduff  the savior of Scotland by making him appear as God's appointed angel of justice to reinstate the rightful and chosen king of Scotland. Macduff, along with Malcolm ,  go to England to seek help from the historical King Edward the Confessor. Malcolm tests Macduff's loyalty before...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

he embraces him as an ally. Once he is convinced of his loyalty, he explains that he will return to Scotland with ten thousand soldiers lent to him by the English king to defeat Macbeth

Macbeth has brought only chaos to Scotland, symbolized in the bad weather and bizarre supernatural events, he offers no real justice, only a habit of murdering those he sees as a threat.  As the embodiment of tyranny, he must be overcome by Malcolm so that Scotland can have a true king once more.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Macduff indeed goes to England to gather the support of both the King of England and Malcolm (Duncan's son) in overthrowing Macbeth. So, that is his basic motivation as it relates to the story. As for the structure of the play, Macduff's departure to England is important for two reasons. First, with Macduff gone, his family is left vulnerable, thus Shakespeare has a perfect opportunity to show how truly despicable and cold-blooded Macbeth has become with the murder of Macduff's wife and children. There is a brief scene before their murder, in which Macduff's wife questions her husband's motivations for leaving them at such a dangerous time. This adds the audience's experience by giving them something else to consider when it comes to Macduff's true motives for leaving. Secondly, the meeting between Macduff and Macbeth allows the audience to see the truly noble motivations of Macduff and Malcolm. Malcolm's clever, yet untrue description of what kind of king he would be gives Macduff the opportunity to show the audience how much he truly wants what is best for Scotland. Both men realize that the other is truthful and noble in their intentions, which raises the level of suspense as the audience realizes that there is no way out for Macbeth; he has lost everyone and will lose everything soon enough.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Macduff goes to England because his beloved Scotland is suffering.  Everywhere he looks, people are being murdered and nature is rebelling against the leadership of the country.  He has suspected all along that Macbeth is responsible for Duncan's death since he does not go to Macbeth's coronation, nor does he attend the banquet the Macbeths host for the nobles.  Macduff goes to England to convince Malcolm to return to Scotland with help from English forces to dethrone the evil Macbeth and restore peace and safety once again to the citizens of Scotland.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After assassinating Banquo, Macbeth visits the witches who prophecied that he would become King of Scotland.  The witches prophecy to beware of Macduff, the thane of Fife.  Then they prophecy that he "need not fear any man of woman born."  Then they prophecy that his kingdom will not fall until Birnam Wood comes to the Royal Palace.  Despite the mixed message of the prophecies (A forest cannot move, All men are born of women aren't they?) Macbeth takes preventative measures, and sends assassins to kill Macduff and his family.  Macduff escaped, his family did not. 

Macduff flees to England, for his own safety and then joins Malcolm (the rightful heir to the Scottish throne) in a coup to overthrow the tyrant Macbeth. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the play Macbeth, why has Macduff come to England?

Malcolm, Duncan's elder son, flees to England right after his father's murder because he is afraid that whoever murdered his father will want to murder him and his brother Donalbain in order to claim the throne. The complete explanation for Macduff's flight to England is contained in a passage in Act 3, Scene 6, lines 28-43. According to this speech by a Scottish Lord, Malcolm is living in the English court. "Thither Macduff / Is gone to pray the holy king upon his aid / To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward / That, by the help of these . . . / we may again / Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights, / Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives, / Do faithful homage, and receive free honors, / All which we pine for now." The English king will raise the army that ultimately overthrows Macbeth. Macduff's flight causes Macbeth to send armed men to murder his wife and children. (See Act 4, Scene 2) Macduff seeks out Macbeth on the battlefield and kills him in their death duel at the end of the play.

Last Updated on