Masculinity In Macbeth Essay

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Viewpoints on the concept of masculinity vary on a person to person basis. Some may believe that masculinity is developed through attaining power or demonstrating dominance over others. While it may also be perceived as confidence or the ability of an individual to act independently. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, through cruel and violent actions it is suggested that one’s masculinity is established. The characters Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Macduff, and Malcolm reveal Shakespeare’s brutal and dauntless ideas of masculinity through their words and actions within the play. Shakespeare’s ideas of masculinity are exhibited predominantly through Macbeth. In the play, Macbeth fears killing King Duncan who currently holds the throne in which he intends to seize. In spite of this, Lady Macbeth demoralizes Macbeth. She feels that once Macbeth just “durst do it, then [he is] a man 1.7.54”. It is implied through Lady Macbeth that Macbeth is not a man, and that he will not be until he finds the courage to kill Duncan. This contributes to building Shakespeare’s brutal idea of masculinity as Macbeth will only be viewed as a man by Lady Macbeth, once he has murdered the king. Furthermore, Macbeth encounters the ghost of Banquo in the play, soon after he has Banquo murdered, leaving him in disbelief. Because of this, Lady Macbeth blatantly shames Macbeth by questioning “Are you a man? 3.4.69”. This helps to shape Shakespeare’s idea of masculinity, as it indicates that a true man from his perspective cannot be afraid. It suggests that a true man must disregard fear, even if the situation at hand is extremely difficult to cope with. Themes of masculinity are incorporated through Lady Macbeth in the play. She is a woman, but desires to be cruel and mons... ... middle of paper ..., leaving Macbeth unprotected. After learning this, Macbeth’s “better part of a man 5.8.22” is cowed. He is no longer dauntless as he had previously been, which leaves him vulnerable to Macduff’s assault. This conveys Shakespeare’s idea that in order to maintain manhood, one must remain invariably fearless. The fall of Macbeth’s fearlessness in the play, ultimately results in the fall of his masculinity, which leads to his demise. Through the words and actions of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Macduff, and Malcolm, it becomes inevitable that violent and dauntless behaviours must be pursued in order to guarantee the masculinity of an individual. It is also clearly instilled by Shakespeare that manhood is desirable and is difficult to earn. Because of this, the brutal acts committed in the play may be justified by Shakespeare’s own perspective on the theme of masculinity.

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