Son of Macduff

[This is an annotated list of all appearances and all mentions of the Son of Macduff.]

Mark Dightam as the Son of Macduff


Ross tells Lady Macduff that her husband has fled from Scotland, which upsets her very much. She is both angry at her husband and worried about him. Meanwhile her son, a boy of nine or ten, is standing there, listening to everything. After Ross has left, she begins to joke with her son about what he has just heard, saying, "Sirrah, your father's dead; / And what will you do now? How will you live?" (4.2.31). The boy knows that his father is not dead, and responds to his mother's kidding with jokes of his own. Just as we are seeing that mother and son love and trust each other very much, Macbeth's hired killers murder the boy before our eyes.      [Detailed Scene Summary]

In England, Ross tells Macduff, "Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes / Savagely slaughter'd" (4.3.204-205). Macduff is plunged into grief, and when Malcolm urges him to cure that grief with revenge against Macbeth, Macduff replies, "He has no children. All my pretty ones? / Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? / What, all my pretty chickens and their dam / At one fell swoop?" (4.3.217-220). In saying, "He has no children," Macduff is making the point that he can't get eye-for-eye revenge upon Macbeth, and he may also mean that the childless Macbeth can't understand how terrible it is to lose a child.      [Detailed Scene Summary]