Examples Of Masculinity In Macbeth And Lady Macbeth

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In ‘Macbeth’, masculinity is presented as a driving force to Macbeth’s crimes, making it a vital theme. The essay’s focus is masculinity’s presentation through Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Primarily, Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as “valiant”: a prized, respected masculine quality in their society. However, this trait becomes warped along the play. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth yearns for masculinity but she fails to acquire it. Shakespeare thus displays masculinity in two different lights.

In Act 1, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth with admired masculine qualities countered with Lady Macbeth criticising his idiosyncrasies. Lady Macbeth’s definition of masculinity is disparate to others’. In Scene 2, the captain labels Macbeth “brave”; a venerated quality
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The most notable scene where Shakespeare conveys this is Act 1 Scene 5. Lady Macbeth says, “unsex me here”, demanding elimination of all womanly attributes. She adds, “take my milk for gall”. This demonstrates she is reluctant to be a nurturing, mother figure. She thinks femininity is useless; she could accomplish more as a male. In the Elizabethan/Jacobean era, women were often subjugated – made to submit to and follow men, regarded as weak and in need of protection. Given no control, women were forced to stay home and bear children. Lady Macbeth yearns liberation from these stereotypes and standards. Her authority cravings lead her to tell Macbeth, “Leave all the rest to me”, seeking dominance. Macbeth is essential to succeed so she could be interpreted as somewhat manipulating him into committing larger crimes – namely…show more content…
He has Macbeth stand his ground until the end and lose his fight after trying his best. We see glimpses of the Macbeth we saw in Act 1 – brave and valiant – in an altered scenario. In Scene 3, Macbeth says, “I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hack’d”. He wants to die as someone who, though hated, fought confidently and skilfully. Later, Macbeth states “At least we’ll die with harness on our back”. He thinks that if he dies like this, all is not lost and that, despite his reputation, he may still be admired for certain qualities. He refuses to be affected by his wife’s death either. He says, “She would have died hereafter”, pushing it to the back of his mind, focusing on the battle rather than Lady Macbeth’s demise. Lastly, before Macbeth is slain, he says, “Lay on Macduff, / And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!”. He is eager to be strong to the end – attempting to keep the qualities that he was once respected
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