How is Lady Macduff portrayed in the play, and what are her strengths?

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Shakespeare could have completely left out the second scene in Act Four and only shown MacDuff's reaction to hearing the news that his family has been murdered; instead, the Bard does add Lady MacDuff's scene in order to evoke sympathy from the audience. 

In Lady MacDuff, Shakespeare creates...

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Shakespeare could have completely left out the second scene in Act Four and only shown MacDuff's reaction to hearing the news that his family has been murdered; instead, the Bard does add Lady MacDuff's scene in order to evoke sympathy from the audience. 

In Lady MacDuff, Shakespeare creates a  female character who is both strong and family-minded.  She comes across as feeling extremely vulnerable from her husband's leaving; Macbeth's machinations have resulted in more than just political turmoil.  By including this brief glimpse of her conversation with her son, Shakespeare creates a very realistic portrayal of the hurt and anguish felt by one family who has been impacted by Macbeth's ambition. 

 

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I have always been fascinated with Lady Macduff's reaction to her husband leaving. She considers him a traitor, and tells her son that he's dead. She feels abandoned, and becomes bitter. Her son quips with her, but the pain his mother feels is evident. "Ross tries to console her, but she feels her husband is a traitor and a coward" (enotes Macbeth summary, Act 4, scene 2). Lady Macduff and her son appear very briefly, but they demonstrate Macbeth's vain, crazed, ruthless ambition. You can read a summary of the scene here: http://www.enotes.com/macbeth/act-iv-summary-analysis
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