It’s no surprise, that Shakespeare’s Macbeth was clearly constructed as a rebellion against femininity roles of the time. During the Elizabethan era, women were raised to believe they were inferior to men since men obtained desired masculine qualities such as strength, and loyalty, whereas women were viewed as figures of hospitality (1; 6; 28-31). Obviously, not being tempted by the luxury of subservient women, William Shakespeare rebuked this twisted belief, applying that women deserve more respect than their kitchen tables. However, if transcending female expectations was used as a weapon than for good, is it still considered an act of femininity? Of course not! It clears that although Shakespeare rebelled against gender roles of his time, he still believes that women/men should have moral intentions. With the character Lady Macbeth, we get a taste of what inhuman values, attitude and believes look like, and eventually what this lifestyle can lead to. (Hint: it is not good) …show more content…
In their defence they often reference to her small talks with Macbeth, where her opinions often surpass his (1; 7; 72-74). But, it’s clear that Lady Macbeth is no feminist lady. Throughout the play, she is viewed by the audience as a selfish female character, consumed with ambition to successfully bring the witches prophecy of Macbeth becoming king into reality. Unlike, Macbeth who tends to carry out his deeds holily, Lady Macbeths ambition completely disgraces the definition of feminist, believing regicide of faithful leader King Duncan is the way to gain power. Macbeths strong values, belies and attitudes of King Duncan, created a series of doubts towards Lady Macbeths idea, since. “He hath honoured me of late” (1:7:32). But the attitude of Lady Macbeth, wasn’t having any of this
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“Come, you spirits, That tend on mortal thoughts,/unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/ Of dire cruelty” (1.5.41-44). Lady Macbeth is the personification of male dominance, ruthlessness and violence. She hopes that she could take control of all action. She yearns to be a man and her implication is that she is more masculine than Macbeth. Her drive and violent nature is more akin to men and their masculinity.
It is clear that men and women have two different cultures in Shakespeare’s time, and the relationship between the two was hierarchical. Throughout Shakespeare’s play, it is obvious that the feminine emotions are far less desirable than the masculine. When Lady Macbeth plots to kill Duncan in order for Macbeth to become king, she is aware that he must suppress his natural “love, compassion, pity, [and] remorse” in order to kill Duncan, and she will need to ignore the same emotions, “which she clearly thinks of as feminine” (180). Macbeth, of course, eventually gives in to the gender definitions of his wife and society and kills Duncan. “He is on his way literally and figuratively to becoming the kind of man his wife has urged” (183).
Lady Macbeth in the beginning of the play is manipulative, most of the times she manipulates her husband into doing either what she wants or what she thinks he should do. For example, when Macbeth does not want to kill Duncan anymore, Lady Macbeth convinces him by saying “from this time such I account thy love. Art thou afeared to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire? (I.vii line 38-41). Besides, the audience see Lady Macbeths is influencing her husband’s feelings by she is using her love as a weapon because she is saying do it
Macbeth allows himself to be overtaken by her command over him, and ends up killing Duncan. He knows this is wrong, displayed by his internal pro and con list. This is a far cry from the expected roles of men and women during this time period, where the wife is expected to submit to the husband’s will and ambition, while unexpectedly in the first act she is the one bending him to her much stronger ambitions. For example, in “‘Be Bloody, Bold, and Resolute’: Tragic Action and Sexual Stereotyping in Macbeth”, author Carolyn Asp writes, “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,” (Asp, 153).
[with] direst cruelty”, grants her the ability to act in a way that is considered both ruthless and respected among men, suggesting the difference between the actions of women and men as well as the difference in seriousness taken as a result of action from either gender(1.5.48-50). Without the presence of a stigma relating to gender throughout the play, Lady Macbeth has no reason to declare her disconnect with her feminine identity. However, the idea that gender makes one inferior
Lady Macbeth is calling to the spirits to assist her murderous ideations and to do that make her less of a women and more like man which will then fill her with deadly cruelty. This supports how she feels, about needing to be manly to commit these horrible
but is then cast aside by her husband at the end. Shakespeare thus presents masculinity in both a positive and negative light. In Act 1, Shakespeare presents Macbeth with admired masculine qualities countered with Lady Macbeth criticising his idiosyncrasies. Lady Macbeth’s definition of a man is disparate to others’.
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
In the beginning Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth was a ruthless and masculine woman. She showed the audience that, mentally and emotionally, she was stronger than Macbeth. Although as the story started to continue the audience began to see that she was becoming mentally insane. Throughout the story there was also evidence of shakespeare showing the more masculinity you had the more cuel you became.
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
In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, the protagonist desperately tries to live up to the image of a man that his society portrays. The search for his manhood leads him to violent acts that inevitably get him killed. In this tragedy, male and female roles are constantly discussed and defined. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth equate masculinity to violence and aggression. They both believe that in order to be a real man, then a man must perform violent acts when necessary.
Not only women here have the gender roles. Macduff's family is killed and it is looked down on when men cry, yet here it is more emotionally taken by the audience than when Lady Macbeth gender roles are flipped. Having Macduff be manly man yet cry at the death of his family makes him more of a ‘well rounded character’ and lady macbeth's character is more ‘damaged’. The end of Lady Macbeth's power left so broken he had little response to it.
Shakespeare, like any other man in the 16th and 17th century, saw ambitious and dominant women as evil and even disturbing or disturbed. From Macbeth, we can see Shakespeare feels women should be challenged and punished because they are trying to change society. Nowadays these ambitious and dominant women are regarded as brave and respected because of their ambition, such as Lady Macbeth’s ambition to become Queen. Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as mentally disturbed.
Shakespeare believes that Gender roles shouldn’t be the stereotype of any relationship because the roles can be switched, and them being switched can cause a lot of trouble. When a woman thinks for men it ends up pretty bad. The play Macbeth shows that when a man follows a women's word because they love them, that's when
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.