What occurs in the scene in which Lady Macduff appears? Comment on the shifts of mood in that scene

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macduff is angry about her husband having left her and her family in Scotland while he went to England to help Malcolm rally support from the English to overthrow Macbeth.  She feels his place was to stay in Scotland and protect his family from Macbeth.  When her son asks about his father, she responds flippantly that he is dead.  Her son knows this isn't so and the two of them exchange in some wordplay as the son tries to sort out why his father isn't at home and his mother doesn't seem to want to give a direct answer. Lady Macduff is warned by a messenger that danger is on the way and she and her children should run, but it is too late.  Macduff's family is killed.  The mood change goes from anger when Lady Macduff is talking with Ross at the beginning of Act IV, sc. 2, to flippancy when mother and son are talking, to horror and desperation when the murderers appear and kill Lady Macduff and her son.