Being A Man In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Throughout the history of society, a man is expected to be courageous, strong, and valiant. Shakespeare’s tragedy of Macbeth demonstrates the idea of what it really means to be a man, and the strong influence one’s idea can have on another. Lady Macbeth is a character who displays herself as a strong and independent woman. Her definition of being a man is living fearlessly and being gallant. Macbeth feels obligated to meet his wife’s expectation of being a man, which alters Macbeth’s actions, and ultimately terminates his moral compass. Lady Macbeth forces this idea of being a “man” on Macbeth, and he starts to believe her which forces him do insane acts of immorality just to live up to the standard of being a man. Macbeth becomes fearful of…show more content…
Her idea is to kill the current king Duncan by getting him drunk and murdering him in his sleep. Macbeth hesitates to perform this action, and Lady Macbeth responds to his uncertainty, “when you durst do it, then you were a man;/ And to be more than what you were, you would/ Be so much more the man.” (I.vii.56-58) This quote proves how Lady Macbeth believes that in order to be a man, Macbeth needs to kill Duncan to show how he is valiant and indomitable therefore elucidating the impression that Lady Macbeth’s definition of a man is being strong and courageous. Macbeth continues to be fearful and replies, “If we should fail [this murder?]” (I.vii.68). Lady Macbeth responds, “screw your courage to the sticking place/And we’ll not fail.” (I.vii.70-71) Lady Macbeth believes that screwing Macbeth’s courage and bravery in place will help him get through the process of killing Duncan, and she believes courage is what will make him manly. For example, Lady Macbeth asks, “Art thou afeard/ To be the same in thine own act of valor/ As thou art in desire?” (I.vii.43-45). Lady Macbeth wonders if Macbeth is afraid to act the way he desires. She somewhat tricks Macbeth into thinking that he desires to be king, to make him want to continue with the plan, ultimately for her benefit of becoming queen and having a good social…show more content…
He shows signs of a new person and claims, “The very firstlings of my heart shall be/The firstlings of my hand.” (IV.i.167-168). By saying this, Macbeth no longer worries about the consequences of his actions and will go on with his ambition and do what he believes he should do. In the beginning, Macbeth tends to overthink everything, but now whatever he feels to do is what he does. In this case, Macbeth kills Macduff’s family, although he somewhat knows it is or will be soon insignificant. For instance, Macbeth continues, “This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool” (IV.i.175), showing the readers that he will continue on with this deed before he loses his sense of purpose. This shows that Macbeth already knows he will give up his ambition and manliness, so he might as well be ambitious while he’s stuck in this “man” portal. Macbeth does this just to prove to not only himself, but to Lady Macbeth, that he is a man. Living with a bad moral compass, Macbeth soon realizes his faults and it he has come too far to escape the portal. Macbeth’s prediction of losing his sense of purpose comes true. He finds out about Lady Macbeth’s suicide and the first thing he says is, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/And then is heard no more.” (V.v.27-29) This quote suggests that his struggles to become king were pointless, that life is short and
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