Gender Stereotypes In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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In the popular play Macbeth, Shakespeare compares the gender stereotypes portrayed to those different pre-existing ideas from other generations such as the 1900’s, the 50’s, and even today 's society. Macbeth has plenty of examples of the exaggeration of gender roles that clearly differentiate male and female by construing their proper roles as polar opposite or complementary. Examples proving that there are gender stereotypes in Macbeth pertain to characters such as Lady Macbeth, The Witches, and Macbeth himself. In Macbeth, the many different stereotypes of gender roles from throughout the century to today’s society have been displayed in many aspects of the play. With examples of the exaggeration of gender constructs pertaining to the male…show more content…
Why does she shame the slightest form of femininity? As the play unfolds, Lady Macbeth is seen stepping on Macbeth’s toes constantly about being weak and unmanly. But does weak mean unmanly? The construct formed from the beginning of time is that if a man is weak he is feminine, this is the self-conflict within Lady Macbeth. “Lady Macbeth consciously attempts to reject her feminine sensibility and adopt a male mentality because she perceives that her society equates feminine qualities with weakness”, explains that Lady Macbeth fears her femininity (“Be bloody, bold, and resolute”: Tragic Action and Sexual Stereotyping in Macbeth). As Lady Macbeth continues to hide her “weak” attributes by displaying a stronger shell, she also reveals her sense of ambition. Although Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both seek power, it is obvious that power is what drives Lady Macbeth. From the second she knew about the witches’ prophecies, she made it her goal to become King and Queen. When she creates a plan to murder King Duncan, Macbeth shows he is nervous, Lady Macbeth finds this problematic and asks him to “project a peaceful mood, because if you look troubled, you will arouse suspicion.” (1.5.63-65). It is clear that Lady Macbeth is the dominant one in their relationship as she seizes control of all situations. Although “women are perceived as the primary caretaker of the home among other oppressive notions that pertain to them. They…show more content…
As the Macbeth’s portray the opposite of social constructs and expectations in the play, they eventually fall into their belonged stereotype after Lady Macbeth slowly starts to spiral downhill. Once Macbeth feels as though someone is in the way of him becoming King, he instantly creates a plan to murder them like Lady Macbeth did with Duncan. As they eventually take up each others common behavior, Lady Macbeth drives herself to insanity due to her womanly feelings. “I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon ’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.”, she is seen sleepwalking and participating in strange activities due to the insanity driven from guilt (5.1.4-6). Her feelings of shame and weakness have made her crazy to the point where she has herself doing these things. Not only was she sleepwalking after realizing her mistakes of pushing Macbeth about his manliness too far, she “appears to be washing imagined blood from her hands. Her actions and confused speech greatly concern the doctor.” (5.1.Exposition). After manipulating Macbeth to kill King Duncan and to solve his guilt by washing his hands, she is found compulsively “washing” the “blood” off her hands to rid her own guilt. Although Lady Macbeth is suddenly plagued by guilt, Macbeth has

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