Masculinity And Violence In Macbeth

Better Essays
In historical context, Lady Macbeth, or rather Lady Gruoch, may have been just as maniacal as she was in Macbeth. Her story begins as the granddaughter of Kenneth III of Scotland, who was the King of Scotland from 997 to 1005 AD (Booth). He was able to claim the throne based on his relation to his father, Duff of Scotland, and grandfather, Malcolm I of Scotland. Kenneth MacAlpin united the Scots and Picts by becoming king and creating a Law of Tanistry that stated the Kings of Scotland would marry the Pictish princesses, which Lady Gruoch was, that owned land in Scotland since the first-born daughters were to inherit their father’s estate (Centre for Scottish Studies at SFU). However, this did not work in her favor since her father named her…show more content…
From the first act to the last act, Macbeth repeatedly tries to prove his masculinity. In Act I, when she is introduced, she makes a startling speech, calling spirits to make her a man, fill her with evil, and take away any remorse she might have. In addition to making these surprising statements, she says that her husband is too kind to commit the callous murder of Duncan, his own cousin. Macbeth fully voices his feelings about the murder not only in several soliloquies and asides, but to his wife before and after he murders Duncan. Lady Macbeth, the master of manipulation, knows precisely what to tell her husband to get him to do what she wants. She compares his mentioning of the witches’ prophecies and saying he does not want to commit murder to become king to having a baby and then making a promise to nurture and raise it, then “dashing its brains out” (1. 7. 59) (Shakespeare). She sees this absolutely absurd comparison fitting for her own selfish purposes. Macbeth, feeling guilty about disappointing his wife, then voices his concerns about failing in their scheme. To no surprise, she convinces him that if he has the confidence and masculinity to kill Duncan, then he will not fail. After Macbeth meets his wife after murdering Duncan, he is in a traumatic state, saying he heard voices. Lady Macbeth feels the best course of action is to, again, question his masculinity, saying “My hands are of your color, but I shame/ To wear a heart so white” (2. 2. 64-65) (Shakespeare). When Duncan is found dead and he is declared king, Macbeth feels he has earned his manhood, the symbol of it being his kingship. He does everything in his power to maintain his grip on the throne, which brings about his own demise. By analyzing The Tragedy of Macbeth, the audience is able to determine that Macbeth’s downfall is the
Get Access