Gender Roles In Shakespeare’S Macbeth. According To Gender

1993 WordsApr 6, 20178 Pages
Gender Roles in Shakespeare’s Macbeth According to gender theory, society assigns certain conventions and roles for men and women. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, these gender roles play an important part in ensuing violence. 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 modern society create confusing choices in the means of attaining goals. Lady Macbeth is often…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. She associates masculinity with acts of violence, and 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 her 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
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