Traditional Gender Roles In Macbeth

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Judith Butler once said, “Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed, but socially constructed.” In the novel Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth do not conform to the gender roles society has created, but follow the roles that they have mentally. Lady Macbeth takes on the stereotypical male gender roles while her husband is taking on roles that could be seen as traditional female roles. Shakespeare reverses the stereotypical gender roles to challenge the traditional gender roles of power, masculinity, and leadership. First of all, Shakespeare changes the stereotypical gender role of power through Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Men are typically seen as more powerful than women in this time period and even now, but Shakespeare explores…show more content…
Macbeth is excited, but Banquo admits that sometimes evil comes by rewards that ruin lives. Macbeth says to himself, “If chance will have me king, why, chance may/ crown me,/ Without my stir” (Act I. Scene iii. Lines 157-159). Macbeth does not want to use power to get the crown, but the stereotypical gender role of man is to use power to get what they want. He is willing to just wait for it to happen which is more normally seen as something a woman would do. Men are supposed to fight for what they want, so Shakespeare clearly made it to where he acted more feminine than the typical gender role of power for men. Similarly, Lady Macbeth is given a more powerful side to show women being in the masculine gender role. Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Lennox, Ross, Lords, and Attendants are altogether having dinner. The first murderer enters with blood all over his face which Macbeth then asks if Banquo is dead and the murderer says that he slit his throat. Macbeth feels doubt and fear about the death of Banquo. Macbeth “hopes” Banquo hasn’t fallen on bad luck. Macbeth doesn’t see his empty chair because he sees the ghost of Banquo in his chair and thinks…show more content…
Men are the ones who are typically meant to be seen as leaders not followers. Men are more of the bosses in situations, but this is reversed for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth and Banquo both just got done listening to the prophecies from the witches when Angus and Ross arrive to tell Macbeth he is now Lord of Cawdor. Then Macbeth discusses with Banquo if he hopes his kids will become kings, but Banquo has a bad feeling about the prophecies and believes evil tells the truth. Macbeth thinks to himself that the witches made one accurate prediction. Macbeth thinks, “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion/ Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair/ And make my seated heart knock at my ribs/ Against the use of nature? Present fears/ Are less than horrible imaginings. / My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man/ That function Is smothered in surmise, / and nothing is but what is not” (Act I. Scene iii. Lines 147-155). Macbeth is wondering why if the prophecy is good then why is it giving him a bad feeling. The thought of killing King Duncan makes his head hurt and his heart pound with nerves. Macbeth knows he needs to kill King Duncan to get to the throne, but he does not know if he can do it. Macbeth does not have leadership because he is questioning whether or not he should kill the king. He won’t do it without a shove
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