A study of Shakespeare's presentation of women in Macbeth.

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A study of Shakespeare's presentation of women in Macbeth.

Shakespeare has portrayed women to be mentally strong to the extent

that they are able to speak their minds and show that they have

aspirations. In my opinion women are shown with an inner strength that

men lack as well as a connection to the dark and evil side of life.

What should mainly be taken into consideration is the fact that this

play is set in a world mainly dominated by masculine characters. Women

were seen very differently to how they are in the present day.

Men and women had different roles; this is shown by the fact that all

the important people such as the thanes and the King were male. The

King was said to be chosen by God. The Queen of Witchcraft was Hecate,

who is obviously a female character and was most probably chosen by

the devil. This shows a contrast.

Lady Macbeth being the main female character in the play gives us an

idea of Shakespeare's personal thoughts and views of women. She is

seen to be the 'strong woman behind a great leader'. She makes

decisions on behalf of Macbeth and plants ideas in his head. "Come,

you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here." (1.5

ll.38-40) This shows her calling evil spirits to help her with a plan

to murder Duncan. This was done without consulting Macbeth, which

shows that she has a lot of power in their relationship. The fact that

she even calls evil spirits portrays her as a follower of witchcraft

or another sinuous way of life. These were very much frowned upon

during the period the play was set in aswel as during the reign of

James I.

Lady Macbeth asks to be 'unsexed' which could be interpreted as her

having feelings that weren't meant to be experienced by women.


... middle of paper ...

... idea about what sort of person or being

Hecate is.

Lady Macduff is shown as a strong-minded female character. She has a

good relationship with her son as they have a conversation after

Macduff's departure. Macduff's son shows her affection by adding

humour in a tense situation as in Act 4 Scene 2.

Later on in Act 4 Scene 3 after being warned of danger a murderer

appears in Macduff's castle. The murderer fails to intimidate Lady

Macduff as she keeps her head up by answering the murderer back. She

and her son are then murdered.

Women are shown to be strong-minded and to have connections with the

other side of life, which was not thought highly of. These women are

able to manipulate people in their own way. The witches trigger

Macbeth to commit murder and Lady Macbeth masterminds the whole murder

and reassures Macbeth that the murder is for the best.
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