According To Gender Theory, Society Assigns Certain Conventions

1979 WordsApr 25, 20178 Pages
According to gender theory, society assigns certain conventions and roles to men and women. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, these gender roles play an important part in developing the plot and the ensuing conflict that follows. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth appeal to the role of “manhood” as violent and aggressive in order to accomplish the murders of King Duncan and Banquo. Women are portrayed as initiators of evildoings and, thus, inherently wicked. In Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses the characters of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Macduff to demonstrate how the change in gender roles from those of medieval society to those of a more modern society create confusing choices in the means of achieving goals. Lady Macbeth is…show more content…
She claims that these elements of womankind obstruct her from what she perceives as the cruelty and maliciousness that comes with masculinity. As she associates masculinity with acts of violence, she feels that, as a woman, she cannot carry out these acts. Unlike her real life counterpart, Lady Macbeth seems to lack humanity, and she is viewed as both bloodthirsty and a magnificent villain. In itself, this fact seems to prove that women have the ability to make excellent villains despite role expectations to the contrary. In Act IV, however, a much different Lady Macbeth can be seen. Gone is the commanding woman that was able to manipulate her husband into committing murder. Gone, also, is the woman who betrayed the common practice of hospitality by murdering her esteemed guest and king. Lady Macbeth is reduced to a mere fraction of herself, sleepwalking through the castle and rubbing her hands raw as she attempts to remove the spots of blood spawned by her guilt-ridden mind. Moreover, Shakespeare strays from the iambic pentameter he uses through the balance of the play, signaling that something within Lady Macbeth’s demeanor (and sanity) has changed. Lady Macbeth is unable to surpass the level of ruthlessness she has set for herself and, in the end, the guilt and remorse she prayed against are now her worst enemies. Lady
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