Initially, when her character is introduced, she displays her masculine traits with complete disregard for any form of femininity. She commands the heavens in these lines, ”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.”(1.5.30-33). In this, Lady Macbeth sheds any attachment she has to her natural embodiment as a woman, and asks the supernatural to help her in her quest to power. It is clearly shown that Lady Macbeth yearns to achieve ambitions that weren’t considered womanly in the time period that this play is set in. As a consequence, she pushes her husband to fulfill her horrendous dreams, because she knows that she will not be affected if Macbeth fails to execute his plans. If Macbeth gets caught, then she remains blameless, and if he doesn’t, she becomes a queen. Either way she doesn’t get hurt. Nonetheless, Lady Macbeth hides another aspiration, one which is evidenced from her humane actions. As a loyal companion to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth wants to ensure that her husband achieves his dream, to be king, at any cost, even if that means sacrificing her femininity and humanity. Generally speaking, this unique perspective on Lady Macbeth shows that her demeaning of Macbeth’s masculinity is actually a display of her true feminine traits; to always support her husband regardless of the price. Lady
Shakespeare’s famous play, Macbeth, is the story of a man named Macbeth who kills the present king of Scotland, Duncan, in order to become the king, and the aftermath of that event. Within Macbeth, very few female characters are introduced. The first female characters are the three witches, who prophecize the whole play, and then Lady Macbeth, the wife of Macbeth and the most prominent female character in the play. Both the witches and Lady Macbeth lead Macbeth to kill Duncan, but once he does, they find themselves unable to live with the consequences. Shakespeare purposefully wrote the main female characters in this derogatory way so as to assert the idea that women cause ambition, ambition is bad, and therefore, women are bad, but then shows that once the women cause bad things to happen, they can’t deal with them. In Macbeth, Shakespeare documents his belief that women are not only deceitful and cause deadly ambition, but cannot withstand the ramifications of that ambition once they come to pass.
Macbeth is a famous play written by Shakespeare. This play like most stories had women in it, and whether Shakespeare intended to or not he showed his own views on women. The women in this play are the witches and the two wives. Witches aside the two wives are quite unique before settling in to the stereotype of playing second fiddle to a male character. “They wanted, it seemed, to be supporting actresses in their own stories”. (Kelsey McKinney) These women take the time to make it clear how awful they are before fading out. Both the wives and the witches do this masterfully before succumbing to the stereotype of fading out to a male character. In Macbeth the three main feminine themes are clearly that women should not be trusted, have little faith in others, and make foolish decisions.
Throughout history, the role of women in society was infinitesimal. They were considered to have few jobs and often did not play any major part in political and social matters. However in the story of Macbeth, women play a few very influential and negative roles. The only women who appear in the play are the witches, Lady Macbeth, and Lady Macduff. All of these characters can be openly seen as hateful. Numerous times throughout the play women perform menacing acts and it can be argued that women are the cause of Macbeth’s transformation from a revered warrior to an evil tyrant. In the Shakespeare’s Macbeth, women are depicted as manipulative, insane, and distrustful.
Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most popular and daunting female characters. As Macbeth’s wife, her role is very important in Macbeth’s rise and fall from royalty. In Shakespearean times, females were considered as feeble and unimportant beings whose only use was to give birth, and for their looks. They were not by any means equal to men, nor intelligent. Though in this play, Lady Macbeth is portrayed as the biggest impact in her husband’s life. In her role, she uses her status in Dunsinane to gain power, stay sane enough to support Macbeth, and fails while their relationship falls apart. Everything about Lady Macbeth makes her the perfect villain for the play, mostly because of her capability to manipulate anyone that is around her.
"The Tragedy of Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare in 1604, portrays women in a variety of strengths. In Elizabethan society, women were considered the ‘weaker sex’ but in many of his plays Shakespeare appears to question this patriarchal society. Shakespeare wrote ‘ Macbeth’ intending to flatter King James I, the ruler in this era. James I had very strong opinions regarding women and, particularly, witches. He saw Women as inferior and expected them to be housewives and mothers. Shakespeare portrays the witches as evil, worthless and completely mad. This fits into the view of witches in Shakespeare’s time that they were poor, elderly women who didn’t fit into society. Macbeth was also written to persuade King James I to reopen the Globe theatre and was the first play performed there when it did re-open. Shakespeare’s portrayal of women in Macbeth would have shocked Elizabethan audiences as it contradicts beliefs of women’s’ place in society.
As Oscar Wilde quotes, “Women have a much better time than men in this world: there are far more things forbidden to them.” This reference to the female stereotype contradicts to Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, as some female characters strive for power and some go beyond of their expectations. In fact, they step out of society’s gender expectations, this disrupts the natural order of hierarchy. As well, it affects certain of female characters mentally to the point where they lose their lives and/or vilified. As a result, Shakespeare shows that the natural order of hierarchy needs to be established. This essay will therefore examine the female characters by comparing the representation of unstereotypical women-Lady Macbeth and the witches and how Lady Macbeth demonstrates a typical woman while acting as a foil.
From the beginning, Macbeth is a play filled with contradictions. In the opening scene, the witches, who are women with beards, declare, “ fair is foul and foul is fair”(1.1.12 Shakespeare). In this disarranged and chaotic world, the conventional gender roles are sometimes unseated as well. However, when they are unseated, negative repercussions always ensue. Furthermore, in Macbeth, Shakespeare implies that traditional gender roles are the most beneficial and should be followed invariably.
The prominent Shakespearean play, Macbeth raises many conflicting issues about gender concepts of manhood and womanhood. One of the controversial issues has been whether Macbeth is a play that deals with feminism and the rights of women in Elizabethan England or not. In Elizabethan England women had not been given the right of equality. Moreover, the behavior of both males and females was determined through the different characteristics that were assigned to them. With the evolution of the mind, humanity was separated into two types of classes, masculine and feminine. Shakespeare successfully portrays the characteristics of manhood and womanhood as well as a movement towards the equality of women in society. Lady Macbeth’s lord, Macbeth is solely influenced by his “dearest partner of greatness” to commit dreadful murders to obtain the title as the king and the queen. Macbeth, the main character and the tragic hero is continuously reminded of his gender role by his dear wife, Lady Macbeth who leads Macbeth to his downfall. The conflicts of the two gender concepts are psychologically and physically portrayed through the character Macbeth.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth is not the first play we’ve read where women are portrayed as malicious. Starting from Lady Macbeth to the witches and their prophecies. Lady Macbeth is Macbeth’s wife, but she acts as though she was the man in the relationship. However, Lady Macbeth is a leading ambitious woman that we are not used to seeing who really wants her husband to become king, and in order to obtain she think it’s fine for him to commit murder.