Female power in Macbeth
The three witches
Apart from Lady Macbeth, who is the most relevant character related to gender and power issues, the three witches are instrumental in starting the action that leads to so much tragedy. In the manner of Lady Macbeth, they try to break gender barriers, and they are represented as evil for two reasons.
On the one hand, when Christianity was established witches were associated with the devil. On the other hand, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth with King James I in mind, and he wrote a book on wizardry. Many of the ideas that the king expressed to the public were included in Macbeth, such as predicting the future. Apart from that, witches were always seen as female, and not as male. Therefore, two embodiments of evil in the play are the Witches and Lady Macbeth (both mentioned above). They play a large part in the downfall of Macbeth as they put the initial idea of becoming king into Macbeth´s head by “predicting” it. …show more content…
She is the darkest side of his husband because she is the main driving force behind the murder of Duncan because she encourages him, and the attempt to cover it up. She acts like the witches, with manipulation, showing him that to murder someone is not such a thing, and that he must “be a man”. What Lady Macbeth does not know, is that sooner or later the consequences arrive. She is blinded by her want for him to become king and her ambition wins. Additionally, Lady Macbeth takes the witches predictions and try to become them true, she leverages that opportunity to make it reality. She finishes what the witches somehow started, and she can act when Macbeth is not. The way of evil is linked from the three witches to Lady Macbeth, meaning that without the witches Lady Macbeth will not show her ambition, and vice versa. If Lady Macbeth had not acted, the witches would achieve their idea of deceiving
She’s more of the brains behind the plan to kill King Duncan rather than the actual murderer. In Act 1: Scene 5, she receives the letter from Macbeth and she says “Yet I do fear thy nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness”, she knows that he will end up not wanting to go through with their plan. Although he could have said no she still pushed him to proceed. Maybe if Macbeth would’ve put his foot down instead of cowering down and doing whatever Lady Macbeth said, he wouldn’t be in the predicament of having to kill his friends that he is in now. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are much like Adam and Eve.
Shakespeare used known beliefs about witches and witchcraft in his play Macbeth. All of the stories of witchcraft usually end up being almost the same as other stories. Many people that were convicted of witchcraft were not actually witches. But, they may have been studying witchcraft and for that they were either hung or burned.
She progresses throughout the play from a seemingly atrocious and inconsiderate creature to a very fragile woman. In the beginning of the play, she is very assertive and athirst for power. For example, she pushes Macbeth to kill Duncan in order to fulfill the witches’ prophecies. Towards the end of the play, she seems to be a scared, and regretful woman that questions her and her husband’s quest for power. Overall, Lady Macbeth is a self-driven, ruthless, and resilient woman in Shakespeare’s play.
Shakespeare's implies this by having them appear as crucial forces. The witches foreshadow upcoming events that are happening to individuals. The corrupted witches have the abilities higher than human existence. They instruct Macbeth that his prophecy will direct him to the actions he does. Macbeth is easily influenced and pays attention to the weird sisters.
In the play Macbeth written by William Shakespeare, the thane of Glamis, Macbeth, is greeted by three witches who reveal two events that will happen in the thane’s near future. One is that he will soon become the thane of Cawdor, the other being that Macbeth is destined to be the king of Scotland. Promptly after leaving the Witches, Macbeth is declared thane of Cawdor. After seeing the first fortune come true, the readers will soon discover the lengths that Macbeth and his malevolent Wife are willing to go to become king. The concept of gender roles plays an important part in the play Macbeth by assigning specific behaviors and characteristics to certain actions and characters.
Well Lady Macbeth, who is dead set on having absolute power, disagrees with that. She convinces Macbeth to kill, to cover up the murders, and tries to convince him that these murders will get them to the top. Lady Macbeth calls upon the witches and states, “unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty” (Macbeth Act 1 Scene 5 lines 31 and 31). This shows that while in the pursuit of power, Lady Macbeth wanted it so much that she asked the witches to “unsex” her and make her more like man. But along with that you see the theme of gender roles are uncertain which ties into Lady Macbeth leading Macbeth in this pursuit of power, also giving him the ambition that she wants him to
William Shakespeare portrayed the character Lady Macbeth to be extremely ruthless, malicious and manipulative. Thus, being the reason she could easily convince Macbeth to do her will, yet still put on such a convincing performance in front of those who knew nothing of her and her husband’s actions. Lady Macbeth shows her complexity constantly throughout the story when she shares her view-point on masculinity by demasculinizing her own husband, when she strategically plans the murder of the King Duncan, and finally when she finally goes crazy because of the guilt she possesses for not only her own actions but also turning her own husband into a
She is malicious not only in words but also in her intent. Her sole object is to obtain power and wealth, with its attendant treasures. Lady Macbeth lacks humanity and regrets that she was not born as a man. She understands that power and violence are synonymous with manhood and bravery. Additionally, Lady Macbeth interests’ and ambition, override her love for even her husband, Macbeth.
Witchcraft The belief in witchcraft has existed for centuries. Many have disregarded the idea of witches existing on Earth, but many have believed in witches for it to take a toll on civilizations throughout the history of the world. Throughout the history of the world the belief has even affected the way of life in numerous civilizations. It also affected culture in history, as many authors used witches as inspiration for great pieces of works.
She insults him and calls him a coward while also questioning his manhood which makes Macbeth come to a realization that not killing the king is the way of a coward and he is motivated to carry out the plan and murder the king because of Lady Macbeth’s insults and speech that she gives him. By successfully persuading Macbeth into murdering the king this shows that Lady Macbeth is controlling towards people and she can be a very manipulative person. It shows that she is the type of person that gets things done by manipulating other people to do her dirty work for her. Lady Macbeth can simply achieve her own goals by getting into anyone’s head and turning their own conscience against them in, which is essentially what she did to her husband. Macbeth would have never went through with killing King Duncan if Lady Macbeth had never persuaded him because he really does have a soft heart and is good and honorable.
Men were supposed to act as strong fighters, while women were locked in the domestic sphere. These gender roles are prominent in the character developments of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. At first, Macbeth is a strong, heroic solider that shows unbounded courage in battle and loyalty to his king. As the play progresses, he becomes cold, ruthless, and miserable. Lady Macbeth takes on a “manly” role, which is surprising because of how patriarchal the society is.
The women in Macbeth are presented by Shakespeare to be powerful and ambitious which was unlike the typical views during Jacobean times. The playwright portrays Lady Macbeth and the witches to be highly influential to male characters in the play, which again contrasts the contemporary views to that time. Their ambition and power are demonstrated through the perversion of nature. This highlights the evil and immoral side, they possess. Shakespeare, however, presented Lady Macbeth and the witches to be manipulative and cunning, rather than violent like Macbeth was during the play.
Misogyny is shown through Macbeths wife and the witches. Macbeths wife is one of the main causes in him going on a murdering spree and is portrayed as evil. The witches were all women and witches were evil. The theme of greed is shown through Macbeth. It isn’t enough for him to become the thane of Cawdor, he also has to become king even if it means killing everyone in his
The women of Macbeth have a significant impact on the story, and their male counterparts. The three, famous, conniving Weïrd Sisters have a major impact on Macbeth and are the reasons he spirals into insanity, as evident in scene three when the third witch proclaims, “All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!” (Shakespeare. I. III. 53). By foreshadowing what could be his, the witches sparks Macbeth’s sense of ambition and cause him to think about the possibilities of him becoming king, after all. They also set Macbeth up for his death, assuring him that, “Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until / Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill / Shall come against him.”