Despite qualities women were expected to have in Shakespeare’s time, Lady Macbeth disregarded the manner in which most women of her time acted. During the Renaissance period, women had no status and relied on male figures for guidance and support (“Elizabethan Women”). Lady Macbeth challenges the role of women during Shakespeare’s time, as she is stronger, more vicious, and more ambitious than her husband. Shakespeare illustrates a contradictory characterization of Lady Macbeth in contrast to the subservient women of the Renaissance era, creating an intriguing relationship between her and Macbeth in their quest for power. Upon the introduction of the Macbeths in the play, it is apparent that they do not exemplify the conventional men and women of Shakespeare’s day (“Elizabethan Women”).
Lady Macbeth utilizes her acquired masculinity by, in fact, surpassing the manliness of her husband. By mocking Macbeth for being “infirm of purpose” and taking the daggers (to frame the guards for the murder of Duncan), she ... ... middle of paper ... ...d- a consequence for doing good when “to do good is sometime[s] accounted [a] dangerous folly” (IV.II.73-74). Women that go against traditional roles of femininity are punished through perfect executions of “an eye for an eye” justice. This is evidenced through the consequences of Lady Macbeth’s, minor female characters’, and Lady Macduff’s actions. What initially seems to be a depiction of Shakespeare’s approval of unconventional gender roles is actually a reinforcement of traditional notions.
Her inner ruthless and cunning ways makes her reveal her absolute madness and her being the true villain that she is that would make her do the destructive things. In The Tragedy of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is the driving force of all the chaos in Macbeth’s life. She is the backbone for all the betrayal , values power over human life, and she is not very supportive of her husband when everything is all said and done. It’s very clear that Macbeth generally has the final say in most of the gruesome killings in the play. But, who is the conniving, wicked, and bloodthirsty female shadow who is the backbone to this mass destruction?
Continuing on, Lady Macbeth is shown to be confident and coy. Her husband's inability to remain confident proves that he is not as ambitious as he thinks he is and Lady Macbeth is the true power behind the throne. As the story progresses, Macbeth’s personality goes from humble to evil and is later on hated by others for reasons encouraged by his wife. For all of these reasons, Shakespeare shows Lady Macbeth and Macbeth to be entirely opposite from the traditional gender roles. Secondly, Lady Macbeth’s person... ... middle of paper ... ...h from gender roles of common men and women, slowly and subconsciously succumbing to her power over him.
Androgyny in the Characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth In her book, Woman and Gender in Renaissance Tragedy, Dympna Callaghan addresses the presentation of women in Elizabethan England, stating that "women were clearly socially subordinate, and the preponderance of discourse on the gender hierarchy was misogynistic" (Callaghan 12). According to Marianne L. Novy in Love's Argument: Gender Relations in Shakespeare: "'Woman' seems to be associated with qualities - emotions, fears, - one has against one's will, and 'man' with a preferable mode of existence. Men are exhorted to be men, and women, playfully or seriously, often attempt to imitate men" (Novy 198). While men and women were born different, it was society's treatment of their distinguishing sexual traits that defined them either as masculine, and thus in a position of power, or as feminine and unable to challenge male authority. Much of the literature composed in Elizabethan England reflects, whether deliberately or inadvertently, the gender inequities cited by Callaghan, Novy, and others.
She cannot withstand seeing the face so much like her father that is covered in blood. Lady Macbeth’s feminine traits are noticeable in the play, although she wishes to unsex herself but there are still some feminine traits that remained in her. Traits that was seen in Macbeth throughout the play are sometimes more feminine than masculine and the ones in Lady Macbeth are viceversa comparing to Macbeth. Because of the feminine traits in Macbeth are once in a while more stood out than the masculine ones, Lady Macbeth is been force to take the dominion, pushing Macbeth to his success of getting what he deeply desire.
This is accomplished by manifesting the power and appearance of the witches, causing women to be involved in the downfall of their male correspondents, and using Lady Macbeth as a prime ingredient to this downfall. Shakespeare is able to urge the audience to recognize his argument set forth for women from end to end. Shakespeare begins his argument with the three weird sisters. The witches have been described to have supernatural capabilities, and their involvement with the rest of the characters enhances the feminine perspective to the audience. One way that the witches exclude themselves from the normal views of women is through the attire they display.
If it were only the witches' prophecies, then Macbeth would surely not have murdered Duncan. It was because Lady Macbeth constantly harassed her husband, that he was driven to commit all this evil. "... her blood thickened, her milk changed to gaul - into the inhuman, the distortion of nature..." (Ludwyk 233). This illustrates the complete metamorphosis of Lady Macbeth from a loving, beautiful, caring, kind wife to a ruthless, nasty, shrew of a woman. The women in this play distort Macbeth's intuition so much that he thinks he is doing the right thing.
Madness, curiously, forces her back into the stereotypical femininity that her transgressive yearning for imperial power had repudiated¨ (Gilbert). This loss could be described as nothing less than an injustice of Lady Macbeth's character. Analysis of Macbeth almost always concludes that Lady Macbeth is evil and nothing else, nevertheless, her need for power, even by extension of her husband, led to murder. Her belittling, even in modern literary texts, shows how deeply imbedded the idea of women being the Other has become. Lady Macbeth could represent a powerful, and obviously flawed, character instead of simply an extension or backdrop for Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth is thought of being a truly evil character because of the way Shakespeare portrays her character. Her malevolent influence on Macbeth, her trying to hide her humanity to help her have more power over her husband, then her trying very hard to hide her guilt are all examples of the evil she had done. Her dark and sinister nature gradually gave way to insanity and a suicide. Lady Macbeth’s character is a proof that power and thirst for it can lead to insanity and a person’s ultimate down fall. Works Cited Shakespeare, William.