What Is Manhood In Macbeth

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In the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, manhood is a theme constantly discussed and hinted at through the actions and words of the characters. Macbeth’s manhood versus others is in constant question. What is manhood in this play, and what does it mean? To be a “man” is to show honor, integrity, and morals. King Duncan, Banquo, and even Macduff, prove to be more manly than Macbeth ever could wish to be, just by showing their honorable characters and their knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, and how to even avoid doing what is wrong. In Macbeth, manhood is constantly discussed and shown in different ways, whether it is through Macbeth himself or even one of the other characters.

In Act 1 of “Macbeth”, manhood is brought up by King Duncan himself. Not his own manliness, but how he views Macbeth as a man himself. A wounded captain tells the king of
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They mock him, taunting him about how far he has fallen. He responds in anger, wanting to hear more prophecies. He obviously feels more entitled now, and his ambition has thoroughly succeeded in corrupting him to the point of no return. He is now king; his friend (though, in his eyes as of late, his enemy,) Banquo, is dead and out of the way; and he is on a mission to kill any others who stand in his way and jeopardize his crown. The witches inform him that none of women born will kill him, but Macbeth still insists that he will kill not only Macduff, but his entire family and staff, just to be on the safe side of things. “The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to th' edge o' th' sword. His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line.” He shows how all honor and integrity is gone, and he has set aside morals to achieve his own means. Macbeth can no longer be viewed as a man, but as a cold-hearted, immoral
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