What is Lady Macduff's strength in the play Macbeth?How is Lady MAcduff portrayed in the play, and what are her strengths?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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. 


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
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
hell-boy- | Student

Lady Macbeth has many strengths:

1) The way she manipulates her husband, Macbeth by telling him he isn't man enough and making him prove how much he loves her.

2) She can make herself look calm ever when shes not except in act 5.

iklan100 | Student

Oh well that's ok, I think you should draw the lady's attention to this, if she wishes to make a correction. Or woul that be rude?

homin007 | Student

Interesting indeed. I appreciate answers by lentzk, iklan100 and littleteacher8; nicoledesilva seems to have confused Lady Macduff with Lady Macbeth!

nicoledesilva | Student

Lady Macbeth is ambitious. Once she decides to do something, she does it. She is extremely determined.

iklan100 | Student

I think she is a strong and determined woman,a loving mother and loyal to the rightful heirs of the Scottish throne like her husband. Although she only appears very briefly in Act IV Scene 2, her role is still quite significant. Whilst she is angry at her husband for what she thinks is betrayal/treachery in leaving her and her children (in fact only one son is shown in the play although Holinshed tells us Macduff's 'babes' were murdered) she is also suspicious of various going ons and protective towards her son, and afte she has sent off Ross, and she is warned by the messenger to flee, she begins to see teh situation for what it is and to make plans-- but alas, too late.

Lady Macduff's muder and that of her children is also the catalyst that drives Macduff back from England in due course for revenge; and which convinces Malcolm that he is indeed a loyal vassal, having sacrificed wife and family for the Royal family's sake.

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