What is a good comparison/contrast of Lady MacBeth with Lady MacDuff in Macbeth?

Lady Macbeth can be compared to Lady Macduff in that they're both very strong, formidable women. The main contrast, however, is that they put their strength to different uses. Lady Macbeth shows strength as well as resolve in egging on her husband to kill Duncan. Lady Macduff, however, shows strength in resolving to protect her family in the absence of her husband.

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Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff share several similarities and are both portrayed as resolute, courageous women. Lady Macbeth displays her aggressive, ambitious nature by manipulating her husband to murder King Duncan, while Lady Macduff demonstrates her formidable personality by attempting to protect her son from Macbeth's murderers. Both women also find themselves in precarious situations, which are directly associated with their husbands' questionable decisions. Lady Macbeth gradually loses her mind as a result of the guilt attached to Duncan's murder and Lady Macduff is forced to defend her family because her husband left for England. Both characters also criticize their husbands' masculinity. Lady Macbeth questions her husband's masculinity when he initially refuses to follow through with the murder. Similarly, Lady Macduff criticizes her husband's masculinity for leaving them behind in a vulnerable situation.

The most notable difference between the two women concerns their moral disposition. Lady Macbeth is depicted as an immoral, cruel woman, who calls upon evil spirits to consume her soul and give her the strength to influence her husband to commit a heinous crime. In contrast, Lady Macduff is portrayed as a caring mother, who is concerned about her family's well-being and desperately attempts to protect her child. Additionally, Lady Macbeth committed suicide and deserves her fate, while Lady Macduff does not deserve to be senselessly murdered by Macbeth's agents.

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Beyond their titles and genders, Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff have very little in common. However, one thing they do share is considerable strength and fortitude. But then, as tough, independent-minded women in a male-dominated world, they have to be, whether they like it or not.

Nevertheless, Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff show their strength in different ways. Lady Macbeth does so by urging her husband on to murder King Duncan when it seems that he's getting cold feet over his part in the murder plot. For her part, Lady Macduff shows her strength by resolving to protect her family after her husband takes off down South to join with other anti-Macbeth rebels.

A further opportunity for comparing and contrasting the two women comes in their relation to what is right and wrong. Although both women are determined to do what they believe to be right, they have a radically different understanding of what's right and wrong. For Lady Macbeth—initially, at any rate—it is right to have Duncan killed. For Lady Macduff, on the other hand, it's right to do whatever she can to protect her children.

In the end, however, the strength of these women avails them nothing. Both find themselves at the mercy of events beyond their control, which leads to their untimely deaths.

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In addition to the similarities mentioned in the previous answers, I would also say that Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff's similarity lies in the fact that they are both left by their husbands. On the one hand, Lady Macbeth is not physically left by Macbeth; however, her husband is consumed by the ambition to protect his position and begins to ignore his wife. Lady Macbeth feels abandoned and is left alone to struggle with the enormous amount of guilt that eventually leads to her descent into madness and death. On the other hand, Lady Macduff is left by her husband when he leaves Scotland in order to seek Malcolm's help to overthrow Macbeth, so she remains unprotected and powerless with no one to help her and her children.

As for their differences, Lady Macbeth is a cruel, calculating woman who manipulates her husband into following through with his plan to kill Duncan, while Lady Macduff is a loving mother who is goodhearted and unlike anything that Lady Macbeth is characterized by. The two of them are total opposites. Nevertheless, the deaths of both are seen as moments of profound tragedy.

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Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff are similar in the sense that the death of each is caused by the actions of their respective husbands. Lady Macbeth commits suicide because Macbeth has gone too far in his pursuit of power and she can no longer deal with the guilt she feels over her role in his transformation from a hero to a murdering despot. Lady Macduff has been left behind by her husband, who has fled to England to find help in his rebellion against Macbeth. Macbeth takes advantage of his absence and sends men to murder Macduff’s servants, wife, and children.

Their differences, however, are more striking. Lady Macduff did nothing to deserve her fate, while Lady Macbeth goaded and manipulated her husband into killing King Duncan. From that point forward, Macbeth was consumed with the need to protect his power and position.

It is ironic to note that Lady Macbeth’s suicidal guilt was in large part caused by Macbeth’s murder of Lady Macduff. In Act V, Scene I, as she sleepwalks and tries to clean imaginary blood from her hands, she says:

The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?

This is a reference to Lady Macduff. It is not clear whether or not Lady Macbeth knows that Lady Macduff was killed by Macbeth, or whether she truly does not know what has happened to her.

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Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff are similar in that they expect their husbands be protect and rule their families.  When Macbeth is considering whether or not to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth tells him that he would be more the man if he were to go after his ambitions.  She expects that he would do whatever is necessary to advance their family's position.  Similarly, in Act 4 when Lady Macduff learns that Macduff has fled the country, she is angry with him for not staying behind to protect his family.  She thinks that he has made himself look like a traitor, and she feels that he is now worthless in his role as husband and father.  Despite these similarities, the two women are quite different in that Lady Macduff appears to have a good nature whereas Lady Macbeth exhibits a more evil, ambitious nature when plotting to kill Duncan.

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