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Macbeth Gender Roles Essay

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Macbeth takes place in medieval Scotland, where gender barriers were very strict. 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. However, she “gradually falls apart, consumed by guilt, and eventually commits suicide”. (Klett) Lady Macbeth does not conform to medieval Scotland’s female stereotype of being a domestic wife. Macbeth calls her his “dearest partner of greatness”, which indicates they have a close relationship, and he considers her equal to him. “Lady Macbeth must act and think "like a man" because good women are by definition subservient, and can exert no recognizable authority.” When there is the idea of murdering King Duncan, she takes control of the situation. She calls on the evil sprits saying, “unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full, of direst cruelty.” She needed to be male in order to kill Duncan because it was believed only men could commit murder, since women were too dainty to do…show more content…
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. However, she “gradually falls apart, consumed by guilt, and eventually commits suicide”.
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