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In Act 4 scene 2 what is Lady Macduff's attitude at the moment about her husband?

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nikifal | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 24, 2007 at 7:10 PM via web

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In Act 4 scene 2 what is Lady Macduff's attitude at the moment about her husband?

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 24, 2007 at 7:27 PM (Answer #1)

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Lady Macduff is furious at her husband's abandonment-she calls him a traitor and a coward. She tells her son it is left up to the mother to protect her young now, and that his father is dead.

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 24, 2007 at 8:36 PM (Answer #2)

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When Ross tells her that she must "have patience" with her husband for not coming home immediately, she angrily responds that "he had none" / His flight was madness. When or actions do not,/Our fears do make us traitors." Even when Ross further advises that her husband might have "fled" out of "wisdom," she decries "Wisdom!  To leave his wife and babes, / His mansion and his titles, in a place / From whence himself does fly? He loves us not" (2-8). Her anger towards her husband, her insistence that he should first protect his family before he proceeds with affairs of state (dealing with the tyrant Macbeth) provides a contrast to Lady Macbeth and her reaction to her own husband. While Lady Macduff is angry because her husband does not put his family first, Lady Macbeth (in act 1) cajoles her husband to put his ambition above all other matters, including his conscience. When the murders come, Lady Macduff says, "Do I put up that womanly defense, / To say I have done no harm? 976-77), which is another implicit swipe at her husband for putting her in a position to defend herself (instead of him defending her), and is also once again a contrast to Lady Macbeth who refuses any sort of "womanly defense," being, within the terms of the  play, very "manly" in her violence.

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north14 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:21 AM (Answer #4)

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