How Does Macbeth Kill Macduff's Family

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About this sample


Words: 609 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 609|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Macbeth's Ambition
  2. The Keyword: Why Did Macbeth Kill Macduff's Family?
  3. The Implications of Macbeth's Actions
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

William Shakespeare's play Macbeth is a tragic tale that explores the corrupting nature of ambition and the devastating consequences that follow. One of the most shocking and brutal acts committed by the protagonist, Macbeth, is the murder of Macduff's family. This essay will delve into the motivations behind Macbeth's decision to kill Macduff's family and analyze the implications of this heinous act.

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Macbeth's Ambition

Macbeth's ambition is the driving force behind his actions throughout the play. From the very beginning, the witches' prophecy of him becoming king ignites a spark of ambition within him that eventually consumes his moral compass. Macbeth's ambition blinds him to the consequences of his actions, leading him down a path of destruction.

When Macduff refuses to attend Macbeth's coronation, it triggers a sense of insecurity and paranoia in Macbeth. He sees Macduff as a threat to his newly acquired power and becomes determined to eliminate him. Macbeth's decision to kill Macduff's family is a calculated move to ensure that he eliminates any potential threats and solidifies his reign.

The Keyword: Why Did Macbeth Kill Macduff's Family?

The question of why Macbeth chose to kill Macduff's family is a crucial one. It reveals the depths of Macbeth's depravity and provides insight into his state of mind. Macbeth's actions can be attributed to three main reasons: to instill fear, to exert control, and to seek revenge.

Firstly, Macbeth aims to instill fear in his enemies and those who might challenge his rule. By murdering Macduff's innocent family, he sends a clear message that no one is safe from his wrath. This act of brutality serves as a warning to anyone who dares to oppose him, ensuring their compliance through fear.

Secondly, Macbeth seeks to exert control over his subjects. By targeting Macduff's family, he attempts to assert his dominance and remind others of his power. This act of violence is a show of strength, reinforcing the idea that Macbeth is in complete control and will stop at nothing to maintain his position.

Lastly, Macbeth's decision to kill Macduff's family is driven by a desire for revenge. Macduff is a prominent figure in the resistance against Macbeth's reign, and by killing his family, Macbeth aims to inflict emotional pain and suffering on Macduff. It is a calculated act of vengeance, designed to break Macduff and make him suffer as Macbeth believes he himself has suffered.

The Implications of Macbeth's Actions

Macbeth's decision to kill Macduff's family has far-reaching implications within the play. It marks a turning point in Macbeth's descent into madness and moral decay, further solidifying his status as a ruthless tyrant.

Firstly, this act underscores the theme of unchecked ambition and its destructive consequences. Macbeth's relentless pursuit of power leads him to commit unthinkable acts, including the murder of innocent children. It serves as a cautionary tale, warning against the dangers of unbridled ambition.

Furthermore, the murder of Macduff's family highlights the loss of innocence and the erosion of familial bonds. Shakespeare emphasizes the tragic consequences of Macbeth's actions by portraying the innocent victims as defenseless and helpless. This brutal act showcases the devastating impact of Macbeth's unchecked ambition on the lives of those around him.


In conclusion, Macbeth's decision to kill Macduff's family is driven by his ambition, desire for control, and thirst for revenge. It serves as a chilling reminder of the depths to which one can sink when consumed by unchecked ambition. The murder of Macduff's family has profound implications within the play, underscoring the destructive nature of ambition and the tragic consequences it brings. Shakespeare's Macbeth serves as a timeless reminder of the dangers of succumbing to one's darkest desires.

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Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine, Folger Shakespeare Library, 2019.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

How Does Macbeth Kill Macduff’s Family. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
“How Does Macbeth Kill Macduff’s Family.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
How Does Macbeth Kill Macduff’s Family. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2024].
How Does Macbeth Kill Macduff’s Family [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 24]. Available from:
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