Gender Roles In Macbeth And Death Of A Salesman

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In the dramas Macbeth by William Shakespeare and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the playwrights use the motifs of gender roles and fantasy vs. reality to further characterize the protagonist.

Both Shakespeare and Miller use gender roles throughout their dramas to reveal more about the character of the tragic hero. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth uses her power over Macbeth to convince him that murdering King DUncan is the only path to ensure their prosperity. She expresses this feeling in stating "glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art promised. Yet i do fear thy nature; it is too full o'th'milk of human kindness." (1.5.15-17) In saying this, Lady Macbeth rejects the common role of women and pushes her husband to rid himself of his human kindness and bring them success. Shakespeare including this exposes Macbeth's tendencies to be timid with the actions perceived to bring the family greater success, conforming to a more
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In Death of a Salesman, Miller uses Linda to juxtapose her husband, Willy, and highlight his ruthless and greedy tendencies through her always putting his emotional needs before her own, expressing that "he's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being...he's not allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be paid to such a person." (Miller, 40) Because Linda is the ideal wife, her character and actions are able to highlight the flaws in Willy due to his continuous actions for his own perception of success and failure to be the ideal husband. Miller uses the contrast of Linda to Willy to focus on the downfalls within him.

In both dramas, the tragic hero's are martyrs of their fantasy versus the reality of their situation which goes to additionally characterize them. In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman believes that a successful man is one who is profitable and well-liked in the business

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