Macduff is that late-in-the-game hero who comes to save the day, but only after huge personal cost. This third scene of Act 4 is a very weird one at first, and we get a glimpse into how to talk to someone you think is only trying to kill you. Malcolm has been hiding away in England while the rest of his countrymen are getting slaughtered, but apparently Macbeth has sent others to try and kill him. He believes that Macduff is just one more potential assassin, so he puts him to a series of very weird tests, the last of which is whether he’s man enough to go kill that bastard now that his whole family has been slaughtered.
Manliness… it’s a pervasive theme – in this play, in politics, in heterosexual relationships… so complicated.
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