Lady Macduff

[This is an annotated list of all appearances and all mentions of Lady Macduff.]

Allison Wolz as Lady Macduff; Elise Edwards as Young Macduff.

Source: Southeast Missouri State University

When Ross tells Lady Macduff that her husband has fled from Scotland, she exclaims, "What had he done, to make him fly the land?" (4.2.1) This is Lady Macduff's only appearance in the play, and at the end of the scene she is running from the men who will murder her. However, despite the shortness of the scene, she is a rounded character. She is genuinely angry at her husband for fleeing to England, but her strong love for him is also evident.      [Detailed Scene Summary]

In England, Ross tells Macduff, "Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes / Savagely slaughter'd" (4.3.204-205). Macduff is plunged into grief, and when Malcolm urges him to cure that grief with revenge against Macbeth, Macduff replies, "He has no children. All my pretty ones? / Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? / What, all my pretty chickens and their dam / At one fell swoop?" (4.3.217-220).      [Detailed Scene Summary]

Among the things that Lady Macbeth says as she is sleepwalking is "The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?" (5.1.43). The thane of Fife is Macduff. As far as we know, Macbeth did not tell his wife about the murder of Macduff's wife and children, but apparently she has heard the story and knows who is responsible.      [Detailed Scene Summary]

During the final battle, just after Macbeth kills Young Siward, Macduff rushes in, looking for Macbeth. Apparently Macduff realizes that he has just missed Macbeth, and he shouts out a challenge to his unseen enemy: "Tyrant, show thy face! / If thou be'st slain and with no stroke of mine, / My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still" (5.7.14-16).      [Detailed Scene Summary]

In the last scene of the play, when Macduff finally catches up with him, Macbeth says, "Of all men else I have avoided thee: / But get thee back; my soul is too much charged / With blood of thine" (5.8.5-7). "Charged" means full, overburdened, and the "blood" to which Macbeth refers is the blood that was shed in the slaughter of Macduff's wife and children. In short, Macbeth is saying that those murders are on his conscience, so he doesn't want to shed Macduff's blood.      [Detailed Scene Summary]