Macduff and Macbeth are both thanes within Duncan’s kingdom. Macduff arrives at Macbeth’s castle the morning after the great feast for Duncan and uncovers the murder. He begins to question Macbeth’s reasons for killing the grooms suspected of the murder.
Macbeth: ‘O yet I do repent me of my fury / That I did kill them.’
Macduff: ‘Wherefore did you so?’ (2:3)
Macduff declines an invitation to the Macbeths’ castle for a banquet with all the other Scottish thanes. Macbeth is concerned about his loyalty.
‘How sayst thou that Macduff denies his person / At our great bidding?’ (Macbeth, 3:4)
The witches warn Macbeth against Macduff. When Macbeth is told that Macduff has fled to England, he fears that Macduff is rebelling. Macbeth orders murderers to kill Macduff’s family.
‘The castle of Macduff I will surprise;/ Seize upon Fife; give to th’edge o’th’sword / His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls /That trace him in his line.’ (Macbeth, 4:1)
Fuelled by grief for his murdered family, Macduff fights with and defeats Macbeth, calling him a monster, a hell-hound and a tyrant. Macduff was not ‘of woman born’ and he fulfils the prophecy when he kills Macbeth.
‘We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are, /Painted upon a pole and underwrit / ‘Here may you see the tyrant’ (Macduff, 5:8)