Fragility In Macbeth Essay

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The play Macbeth, amongst other works crafted by the renowned playwright William Shakespeare demonstrates the constant societal ideas about the strength of men versus the fragility and overall feebleness of women. From the lowest class of society, all the way to the ruler’s wife, these traits are seen as burdens and often banished in return for power and strength. The acquisition of these naturally masculine traits secure the characters’ abnormal status, ultimately leading to their demise due to their tampering with set gender roles.
Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s strongest and most influential female figures. She accepts the patriarchal message that she is frail at the beginning of the play, and recognises her need to seek supernatural
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The idea that these exclusively masculine traits are the defining factor to whether a person is powerful rather than subservient is shown across a selection of other works also by Shakespeare. In his play ‘The Twelfth Night’, Viola, the protagonist, disguises her feminine body and personality to become a male named Cesario. Viola claims that women have ‘frail hearts that are easy to deceive’, as if ‘deceptions leave a mark as if wax’. This theme of female fragility is a constant theme in many works of this time period, not only limited to Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s projected perception that females are foolish and weak can be seen in ‘Hamlet’ where the title role expresses his belief that ‘frailit[ies name is] woman’ – a common perception in 17th century…show more content…
On many occasions, the challenge of manliness is what pushes a character to do something out of the ordinary. Lady Macbeth asks her husband why he “looks so green and pale” in act 1 scene 6. This accusation is really an insult to Macbeth 's masculinity, as it hinted towards the disease Anaemia, where a victim became green and pale, which was thought to have been a sickness that was caught by young virgin girls. The effect of this insult drives Macbeth to prove his worthiness of the title bestowed on him of “brave Macbeth” by killing Duncan. A similar challenge is issued again in act 1 scene 7, where Lady Macbeth asks “art thou afeared, to be the same in thine own act and valour, as thou art in desire?”. She accuses him of being a “coward”, pushing him to feel the need to prove himself once
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