Literary Essay: Macbeth The “strong independent woman” is an amalgamation of modern attitudes towards women. Feminist, outspoken, and sexually liberated, this entity breaks the “mother figure” stereotype usually attributed to women. Current society reinforces these unconventional notions, however this was not so in Shakespearian times. In Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, most female characters are portrayed in “unstereotypical” ways. Lady Macbeth’s “unsex me speech” leads her to acquire male attributes throughout the play, Lady Macduff openly criticizes her husband for leaving, and minor characters such as “the sailor’s wife” are inhospitable and unaccommodating.
To what extent does power change the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth throughout the play? Shakespeare crafted this story with a main message ‘power can corrupt’ – this is evident in the character transformation of the two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Whilst initially quite different in personality, power – and the potential of even more power – drives them to extremes. A related theme is the balance of power in their relationship. In the first few acts, Lady Macbeth is represented as a ruthless woman, prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure that her husband – Macbeth – becomes king.
Throughout the story of Macbeth, Shakespeare reverses the attributes of usual gender roles, Lady Macbeth's greed manipulating Macbeth's desires and weak confidence levels. Usually, many think that the male is supposed to be the authoritative figure in a family. Lady Macbeth is just the opposite by having complete domination over her husband to appease her greedy need to be in control. Lady Macbeth’s personality demonstrates the role of the powerful one in the family. Continuing on, Lady Macbeth is shown to be confident and coy.
The Slipping Slope of Sovereignty Before the Middle Ages, women were societally submissive to male supremacy. As the Middle Ages progressed, one develops a sense that women sought a change in societal order. Upset that they are not able to share their beliefs due to their position, women began to become more vocal. In comparing two great poets Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare, one sees a connection in their most well known works. Chaucer's view on women, demonstrated by the “Wife of Bath’s Tale” and the Wife’s belief that all women desire sovereignty, is welcomed by William Shakespeare but not achievable by Hamlet’s female protagonists, Gertrude and Ophelia.
It appears that even she can’t resist the perfect crime. Lady Macbeth is a dominant character as soon as she is introduced into the play. A.C. Bradley wrote about her as “…the most commanding and perhaps the most awe-inspiring figure that Shakespeare drew” from his article titled Lecture X. She became a image known for her ambitious nature. Her thirst for power and disregard for life was shocking to the audience, as to her own husband.
The switch in roles exemplifies inverted gender and social roles during their era. After Macbeth discovers the Witches’ prophecy, he tells his wife, Lady Macbeth about it. She reacts differently than one would expect a woman to act. She begins to mock Macbeth and ridicule his masculinity. By the conveyance of her speech, Lady Macbeth emphasizes that she is in charge and that Macbeth needs to follow her in order to achieve anything, as she states, “Yet do I fear thy nature;/ It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness/To catch nearest way” (1.5.16-18).
The concentration is directed on this oneness through the plot progression within Macbeth, in which the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are reversed. Even upon the first introduction of the Macbeths, it is evident that they do not represent the stereotypical men and women of Shakespeare’s day. In public, Lady Macbeth plays the traditional housewife and hostess while Macbeth is acknowledged by his colleagues as a fierce and loyal warrior; however, the Macbeths behave quite the opposite when in only each other’s company. Lady Macbeth blatantly distinguishes herself as the dominant force in the relationship. For instance, when Macbeth is unsure of how to manage Duncan’s visit to Inverness, Lady Macbeth instantaneously seizes control of the situation, demanding that Macbeth “put/This night’s great business into my dispatch” (1.6.
Lady Macbeth was not seen as the typical woman image, she had the power over her relationship with Macbeth and was presented as a manipulative woman where as woman in the 17th century were considered delicate, had no rights and were inferior to men, had no power or education and were obedient to their father and husbands. Lady Macbeth brainwashed Macbeth to get the power she desired, this is seen through the forceful statement by Lady Macbeth "Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, and... ... middle of paper ... ...cters and writing techniques to develop his key theme of power and ambition throughout his play, but also through the use of language. He uses powerful imagery which allows us to visualise his scenes with ease without the use of props, varied vocabulary and the lyricism of his verse which often has a lingering effect on the audience. He uses a wide range of allusions to classical, religious and historical icons, stories and people and frequently uses puns, juxtaposition, assonance, alliteration, all are tactics to engage and entertain his audience. Ambition has fatal consequences in the play, which include Macbeth being murdered as a tyrant and Lady Macbeth committing suicide.
Role of female empowerment in King Lear During the Elizabethan Era, women were oppressed to men and had no authority and power to make their own decisions. This ideal view of gender is defied in William Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy, King Lear, for female empowerment is central to the play. Firstly, the bold characteristics of the woman contribute greatly in enhancing the plot. Furthermore, women play a major role in developing the theme of power. Moreover, when power is given to the female characters, they reveal their true character, thus aiding with their character development.
...Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear, and chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round...(1.5.25-28) Lady Macbeth believes that, to be successful in his ambitions, Macbeth must rise above his goodness and accept her evil ways. She knows that the process of making her husband believe what she wants may not be easy. Lady Macbeth has to be cunning, and she is up for the challenge. The thought of being in power - the King and Queen of Scotland - drives her and she cannot be stopped. Lady Macbeth often has to reinforce her immoral beliefs to her husband, giving him a boost.