In the Shakesperian play "Macbeth," Macduff chooses to flee to England in response to the murder of Duncan by Macbeth to go in support of Malcolm, the son and heir of Duncan. In fleeing to England, however, Macduff condemns his own family, who is murdered by Macbeth in response. In fleeing to England, Macduff also attempts to persuade Malcolm to reclaim the Scottish throne with a show of force.
In the play, Macduff's first dialogue involves the discovery of the corpse of King Duncan inside Macbeth's castle. His decision to flee to England is due to his suspicion that Macbeth was, in fact, the murderer of Duncan. While in England and attempting to persuade Malcolm to act, Macduff is informed of the death of his family and the consequence of his action by another Scottish thane by the name of Ross.
Macduff eventually returns to Scotland alongside Malcolm and their English allies and meets Macbeth in battle at Dunsinane Castle. Macduff eventually slays Macbeth, although in the play this occurs offstage. He then presents his head to Malcolm and declares him the rightful king of Scotland.
Prior to King Duncan's assassination by Macbeth, Macduff held the title of Thane of Fife. The first references to Macduff is found in a 14th century work called the "Chronica Gentis Scotorum."