In Act IV of Macbeth, Macduff receives the worst news that any parent can ever receive: his children and his wife have been killed. Hearing this news surely motivates Macduff to kill Macbeth, the dictator, but I think that this scene provides much more than a motivation for Macduff. The very human and very sad reaction by Macduff.
One thing Macduff says is, “He had no children.” Now that I have children of my own, I understand and feel Macduff’s greif much more than I did when I was younger. The truly sad thing about this scene is that it reminds me of the different news items I hear every day where good people are killed — and fathers and mothers are left without their children. When Ross breaks this horrible news to Macduff, he also says that everyone should share his suffering. “No mind that’s honest,” he says, can avoid suffering along with Macduff’s family:
“No mind that’s honest
but in it shares some woe.”
I think that Ross is right: Human beings should feel it when bad things happen to good people, even when we don’t know those people For this reason, I’m moved when I hear stories of people making connections and caring when strangers have to suffer. A recent example of this happened right after the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear accident wiped out cities in Japan. A colleague told me that a third grade class, which had been writing a blog, had received a comment from someone in Japan. Their teacher was surprised to see that the students were distraught — some even in tears — when they came to class after learning about the Tsunami:
“Where did it hit?”
“Is our friend OK?”
The lesson I take away from this story: When we share our humanity and connect with people — even in very small ways — we become more human. Even though there is pain involved, I think that our lives are much richer when we make some kind of connection to people around the world. I also hope that we can connect over joyful news as well as the very sad.