Wife of Lord Macduff and a victim of Macbeth's hired Murderers.

Though a minor figure, this pathetic character--created only to be unjustly killed--is a striking example of the well-crafted small role of which Shakespeare was a master. In her brief appearance she is vivid enough to contrast powerfully with Lady Macbeth. As a loving mother, domestic life is more important ot her than politics, and she is everything in a woman that Lady Macbeth is not.

As she is the only other female character in the play (except the Witches), the contrast is firmly impressed on the readers. She also affects in another way, for her helpless bewilderment is another of the many instances of the nation's disorder. The terror she experiences in the last moments of her life constitutes the depths of the play's horror. Her death is an important turning point, for it motivates Macduff to exact revenge and fight with a stronger will than politics alone could prompt.


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