Theme Of Gender And Ambition In Macbeth

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By projecting a heavy focus upon the manipulation of gender and ambition, Macbeth manages to extract a seemingly alien abstraction of the 1600s into a significant narrative element. The tension that coexists between the relations of gender allow for the complete rupture of all social norms. Macbeth’s world becomes disjointed as his masculinity is questioned, his psyche manipulated, and his future incarcerated. Reaves is of the opinion that “the spiritual well being of Scotland in Macbeth suffers from an infection that festers as the play continues. Where “fair is foul and foul is fair” (1.1.12), the basic binary relationships become blurred” (21). Macbeth certainly possesses little power over his choices, submitting to the machinations his…show more content…
Upon this realization, Lady Macbeth indicates a newfound desire to be rid of her feminine qualities, seeking instead to replace them with masculine counterparts. Crying out, Lady Macbeth declares, “Come, you spirits. That tend on mortal thought! Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty” (1. 5. 38-41). Her abstinence towards the limitations of gender thus set her down the road to madness.

Most significantly, Lady Macbeth is able to emasculate her husband repeatedly, possessing the knowledge that in his desperation to prove himself and his manhood to her, he will perform the sinister tasks she wishes him to perform. Macbeth in turn, later echoes Lady Macbeth’s actions as he questions the manhood of the murderers hired to kill Banquo. Such ambitions are further seeded as she continuously builds upon the prosperity the crown would provide should Macbeth be willing to claim it: nobility, power, and vast riches. Her attempts to manipulate are proven successful as Macbeth gives into her demands, proclaiming that, “I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none” in (1, 7, 46-47). This line suggests Macbeth fears losing his masculinity and thus follows the commands of his wife in order to reclaim its solidarity. It is this lurking anxiety dwelling within the two that the reader may observe
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