In attempting to force the fulfillment of the witches ' prophecy, the Macbeths blur the lines between present and future. Lady Macbeth says, "I feel now / The future in the instant" (1.6...
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..., Macbeth muses, "My thought whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man / That function is smothered in surmise" (1.3.141-3). Emotions are not the only things preventing action; Macbeth 's ability to act is impeded by his thoughts ("function is smothered in surmise"). In fact, these thoughts disrupt Macbeth 's manhood; he says, "My thought...shakes so my single state of man." Interestingly, Macbeth echoes Lady Macbeth here. If we juxtapose their phrases, "shake my fell purpose" and "shakes so my single state of man,” not only do we see a strengthening of this relationship between thought and feelings standing in the way of action, but also a connection between "purpose" or the conviction to act, and manhood. Thus, the Macbeths associate femininity with emotions and inaction, and masculinity with action, but a lack of thought and emotions.
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