In Act 1, Scene 7, Lady Macbeth’s response to Macbeth’s declaration that he “will proceed no further in this business” is one of brutality and dominance. In order to persuade Macbeth to pursue the mission at hand, she target’s his insecurity and desire to uphold his masculinity by viciously mocking and attacking his perceived weakness of cowardice. Lady Macbeth constitutes her own definition of manhood through the line “when you durst do it, then you were a man”, inferring that Macbeth can only become a man once he proves his courage by murdering King Duncan. To reiterate the strength and power she has in over her husband, she juxtaposes references to maternal tenderness such as “lov[ing] the babe that milks [her] with the violent and ferocious
First off, Lady Macbeth is a character very much rooted in ambition. The authors use of masculinity versus femininity furthermore portrays the extent to which Lady Macbeth will go to ensure the success of her plan to kill the King. Her hunger for masculinity is first clearly portrayed through her use of the phrase “come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.” This quote exemplifies her willingness to give up her femininity in exchange for masculine cruelty, which would ensure her success in carrying out the murder of King Duncan. Through this quote, Lady Macbeth directly opposes the Elizabethan expectation of women to be feeble, nurturers of life. Lady Macbeth did not believe that her husband had the means to become a strong
This scene plays a lot with the theme of gender and how certain traits seem out of place with the characters. Macbeth is war hero and seemingly tough and ambitious but his weakness is that he is far too kind as Lady Macbeth says, he say “too full of the milk of human kindness”. This comes across as a feminine trait in contrast to his ambition. Lady Macbeth is a very complicated character and possesses many Masculine qualities. In her soliloquy she asks spirits to “unsex her” because she wants to kill King Duncan. She asks to be made cruel, strong and free of remorse. Her ambition is her defining feature, which is a typically masculine quality, yet she is more ambitious than Macbeth himself. Neither Lady Macbeth nor Macbeth fit the gender roles that society has placed on them, and from this scene the audience gets the idea that the plot and characters of Macbeth are not as simple as they
In Shakespare’s play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth’s destiny is formed by her own actions through mind and free-will. In act I, Lady Macbeth convinces her husband to murder Duncan, even though Macbeth was strongly against it. Lady Macbeth is very successful at persuading him to go against his better judgment. She entirely changes the stereotype of women being kind and caring in the first act. After Macbeth writes home telling of his murderous plans, Lady Macbeth begins talking to evil spirits. Because women often lack the ruthlessness to kill someone, Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to make her male. One of the most vivid descriptions of Lady Macbeth’s wickedness is directly after Macbeth announces to her he does not want to kill Duncan. This speech symbolizes Lady Macbeth’s evilness. She is ruthless, because of her evil accounts for the murders that occur throughout the play. Lady Macbeth convinces her husband to commit murders that will make them king
Lady Macbeth has the power over her husband to persuade him into doing anything she requests. She manipulates Macbeth with incredible efficiency by overruling all of his thoughts and changing his perspective on the present. Even though the many tasks that need to be completed are difficult to understand why they need to be done, Lady Macbeth will always convince Macbeth to do it. Her husband often tells her that she has a “masculine soul” which is obvious due to her murderous and envious actions. When the time came to kill king Duncan, Macbeth believes that his wife has gone insane and tells her that the crime they were about to commit was a horrible idea. As a result of his questioning, Lady Macbeth says that executing the crime will show his loyalty to her. On the night of the assassination Lady Macbeth watched the guards of the castle become drunk and unaware of what was going on. Lady Macbeth sent her husband into the castle to kill King Duncan. The married couple fled the scene leaving the guards covered in the evidence. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are stained with the blood of their victims and the feeling of guilt in their stomach.
Power in Macbeth The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare is still a well known a widely studied text, despite having been written many centuries ago. Arguably one of the most pivotal themes of the play is that of power, which is looked at in many different ways and lights in the
Feminist Lens: Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream In Shakespeare’s plays of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream there is a constant shift of power between the two genders. In the play of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s gender roles are clearly defined and very traditional. Macbeth is the manly soldier
However once they accomplish the deed, the torment that the guilt brings is too much for Macbeth but he gets used to the evil of killing people meanwhile the opposite happens to Lady Macbeth who becomes paranoid about killing Duncan. Shakespeare presents the play in such a way that the audience sees how more and more their relationship changes dramatically as a result of how they each handle their emotions following the murder of King Duncan. Although Macbeth was weak at first, it was the strong Lady Macbeth who helped him through the first murder, but in sacrifice to controlling Macbeth and his conscience, she lost control of her own and consequently became insane and committed suicide. Lady Macbeth repeatedly convinced her husband by questioning his manhood “When you durst do it, then you were a man, / And, to be more than what you were, you would / Be so much more the man” (Shakespeare 1.7.54-56). She is a strong, powerful character in comparison to her easily influenced husband, until towards the end of the play where he seems to take on her role.
Lady Macbeth is constantly frustrated by her husband’s attitude towards the situation, scared and worried. When he speaks of his doubts, it only makes her angrier. She wishes that she could commit the murder herself if only she was a man, “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty.” (1.5.47-50) The supernatural component of the book means that Lady Macbeth believes in the magic of spirits. She asks the spirits to de-sex or change her gender; she wants to be less of a woman and more of a man. She believes that if she were a man, she would be more barbaric and vicious and therefore be capable of committing the murder herself without feeling as much remorse. She is fiercely determined to gain the throne for her and her husband, and would trade places with him in a moment if she were a male.
Lady Macbeth’s desire for power prompts her interest in controlling Macbeth’s actions. This theme of the relationship between gender and power is key to Lady Macbeth’s character: her husband implies that she is a masculine soul inhabiting a female body, which seems to link masculinity to ambition and violence. Although
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
In society the purpose of gender roles is to group people into two opposite categories, men and women. These categories however, encourage toxic masculinity and gender inequality. In movies or books characters tend to fall into one category, when in reality most people don’t fit into just one. Shakespeare explores
Lady Macbeth is known for her characteristics because of her neglect to human emotions and her harsh language. For example; “Unsex me here, And fill me, from the crown to the toe…” (I.V.40-44). With Lady Macbeth’s characteristics, she is easy to accuse. Readers may see it as Lady Macbeth prompting Duncan’s murder with her words, but it is Macbeth’s weakness in his manhood that provokes the murder, “Marshall'st me the way I was going,” (II.i.41-42). Before the murder she tells macbeth the murderous ideas and questions his manhood because of his previous
Macbeth's appearance fluctuates from his true self. Macbeth depicts himself to be strong and prudent, but inside he is truthfully weak. This tragic flaw that Macbeth demonstrates is another significant weakness which questions his manliness. His masculinity was an issue for Lady Macbeth so she uses her expertise of manipulation to attack his manhood and persuade him to kill Duncan. "When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man." This quotation compares Macbeth to “a baby that milks me” mocking Macbeth’s manhood. Stated by Lady Macbeth, this shows her determination and fearfulness pushing her husband into the path of the crime. Macbeth’s weakness is made observable when Lady Macbeth speaks “Are you a man?” She’s unquestionably praying on Macbeth’s imperfection, trying to use her manipulation to challenge his pride and manliness to get him to fulfil her needs and desires. This deceitful strategy influences Macbeth a great deal because he wants to see himself as a warrior above everything else. He is determined to show his excessive pride which leads to the continuation of immeasurable murders in the company of many other observed weaknesses.
Lady Macbeth’s burning ambition to be queen drives her to the point of insanity. She stops at nothing to gain power and uses Macbeth as the enforcer for her plans. This power is clearly illustrated as her husband follows her command to kill the king of Scotland, she constantly taunts Macbeth bringing him even further under her control. She is quite the opposite of how we generally assume feminine characters to act, and even begs the gods to remove her femininity at one point, “...Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here...Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers...” (Shakespeare 12). As Lady Macbeth expresses her desire to become unsexed, we see the link that clearly exists between masculinity and murder. She believes that since she is a woman she cannot be capable of committing such evil deeds, and her reference to her breasts which is generally linked to the idea of nurture, is called upon in reference to her desire to do quite the opposite. Lady Macbeth presents a very strong character throughout the play, and through her actions a very clear picture of a manipulative wife is painted. Though Macbeth is the one to carry out many of the deviant plans, Lady Macbeth’s role is clearly portrayed as the evil mastermind behind the murders.