Macbeth, by Shakespeare, is a tragic novel of one mans struggle with himself and the people around him. To truly express the main characters hardships, Shakespeare introduces a "foil" character to offset Macbeth. A "foil" character can best be described as a character in a play that sets off the main character or other characters by comparison. .
Macbeth, a general and the thane of Glamis, thoughts are corrupted by the prophecies of the three witches, especially after their prophecy that he will be made thane of Cawdor comes true. Macbeth is a brave and powerful man, but he is not a virtuous one. He is easily tempted into murder to fulfill his ambitions to the throne, and once he commits his first crime and is crowned king of Scotland, he embarks on further violence with increasing ease. But soon Macbeth's mind withers and slowly drifts into a state of chaos because of his greed and guilt. Through out the play Macbeth has several internal conflicts and is seen as the sole instigator of everything bad that happens to Scotland. Macduff, the typical "knight in shining armor" is the "foil" to Macbeth. He is a general in Duncan's army and he becomes suspicious of Macbeth's part in the king's murder. Macduff flees to England to encourage Malcolm to fight against Macbeth and seize his rightful crown. When Macbeth murders Macduff's entire family, Macduff swears personal revenge against the tyrant and succeeds in beheading him during battle. Though, in the beginning, Macduff and Macbeth are essentially the same. They both want to do what is right for their country, but Macbeth soon strays from the "good guy" persona and lets his mind wither under the subtle control of his wife. Lady Macbeth did play a significant role in Macbeth's eventual fallout, "We fail! But screw you courage to the sticking place, and we"ll not fail" but she was just the stepping stone for the slaughter that he would soon be apart of.