The Gender Roles Of William Shakespeare 's ' The Tragedy Of Macbeth '

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The gender roles in William Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Macbeth are made clear from the very first act. Masculinity is associated with strength, bravery, ruthlessness and apathy while femininity is usually coupled with docility, fragility and reliance. Gender, and the behavior expected from each, is a constant motif that reappears throughout the play. The instances that appear in the play reveal that the characters are expected to act according to their gender and limit their emotions and the way they conduct themselves. In The Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both behave contrary to how their gender would dictate. Lady Macbeth is shown taking the dominant role while planning the regicide of the Scottish king, Duncan, which is unusual for a woman and more expected from her husband, Macbeth. Gender and the actions assigned to it play an important part in the story seeing as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth act in ways stereotypical of their opposite genders; Lady Macbeth comes off as cold-blooded, confident and ambitious while Macbeth is apprehensive and weak-willed and in the end, the role-reversal between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth only harms them later on.
The motif gender shows up repeatedly in The Tragedy of Macbeth and shows the reader how gender was conceived in 11th century Scotland. A woman is expected to stay submissive to the will of a man who is the dominant in the relationship. At first Macbeth is the typical man, a cruel fighter who kills for his king.

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