The story moves to England -- to the palace of King Edward the Confessor. The forces against Macbeth
are mounting, to be led by Macduff and Malcolm.
Yet Malcolm feels he cannot trust anyone. As a result, a bitter suspicion develops which Macduff does
his best to conquer. Word then arrives that Macduff's wife and children have been murdered by Macbeth.
THE OPPOSITION GATHERS
For the first time, the audience is transported from Scotland and away from Macbeth. We journey to
England and the court of Edward the Confessor -- a king known for his sanctity and powers of healing.
Macduff has arrived. He meets up with Malcolm -- the late King Duncan's son and appointed heir to the
Scottish throne. Macduff wishes to spur on Malcolm to lead an army against the tyrant.
Malcolm, however, is suspicious. Macbeth has so many men in his pay that it is possible Macduff is
simply another of them -- come to England to assassinate him.
Macduff understandably becomes deeply frustrated at Malcolm's negative comments until he loses his
temper. Only then does Malcolm accept Macduff's loyalty.
In the meantime, Ross brings news of the murder of Macduff's wife and children. After an initial outburst
of guilt and sorrow, Macduff uses the tidings to steel his own will against Macbeth.
The scene, although a slow-moving one, is nevertheless necessary to allow us to witness the growing
opposition to Macbeth.
The liberation of Scotland, when it happens, will of course be led by Macduff -- about whom the witches
have already warned Macbeth in their usual equivocal way.
Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?