Differences Between Macduff And Lady Macbeth

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Throughout history, woman have been designated limited roles due to their gender. In a traditional and outdated society, woman are usually restricted to the role of caretaker for their family. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the essential example of being a woman is Lady Macduff. She cares for her children and will do anything to protect them. Breaking this traditional role is Lady Macbeth who is depicted as unfit for the job of being a mother. She constantly challenges the role of gender through her actions and words. Lady Macduff and Lady Macbeth are designed to contrast each other in order to enhance certain qualities in their character. This relationship is called a foil and is frequently used by Shakespeare. Lady Macduff’s embodiment of a…show more content…
One of these instances can be seen when Macbeth becomes frightened by the ghost of Banquo at the banquet table. She states: “Impostors to true fear, would well become A woman’s story at a winter’s fire, Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!” (3.4.64-66). Lady Macbeth compares her husband to an old woman telling stories around a fire. She clearly challenges his manhood in order to get him to stop acting out at the dinner. In another instance, Lady Macbeth is attempting to manipulate her husband by claiming she could be considered more of a man than him. She calls her husband’s word into question in the following excerpt when he has doubts about killing Duncan. She says: “How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me. I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this” (1.7.55-59). She describes that she would kill a child feeding on her breast if she had sworn to do it. Her heinous description of this act makes the killing of Duncan seem more benign. Lady Macbeth’s ambition leads to her using those around her with malicious intent.
The clear similarities and stark differences between Lady Macduff and Lady Macbeth is shown as a commentary on woman’s roles in society. Lady Macbeth rejects her role as a mother and instead embraces more masculine aspects. By influencing her husband, Lady

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