Women in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Women in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Length: 699 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Women in Macbeth by William Shakespeare


In modern times, women have been walking shoulder to shoulder with men
to match, at times, even excel any of man's accomplishments. From the
likes of Mary Curie and her famous invention to the space travelling
women of today, the feminine gender has been an influential one to
today's society. On the contrary, during the period where
Shakespeare's play takes place, seemingly the 'Renaissance', an
ordinary woman had very little say in their families, let alone in the
society. Back then, the society was very 'male-dominated' one and
their significant others would merely grant their every will. In the
play however, we encounter a plot very different to this. Written by
William Shakepeare, Macbeth is a story of courageous and loyal general
whose lust for the ultimate power of the throne eventually results in
the downfall of himself and his loved ones. Here, I will talk about
how the women in the play, along with Macbeth himself, played a
significant role in doing so in William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'.

The importance of women in this play is perhaps indicated when
Shakespeare commences the play with a conversation between the three
Witches (Act I, Scene I). The witches discuss their schedule and
confirm when and where to meet with Macbeth. They decide to meet 'Upon
the Heath' when '…the battle's lost and won'. While the duo of Macbeth
and Banquo were returning from the battle, they encounter the three
evil sisters. Upon their meeting, they greet Macbeth as the Thane of
Glamis and Banquo as the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth is awestruck by the
addressing as he was uninformed about their recent promotion.
Following this, the Witches tell Macbeth their prophecy that would
play a vital part in the play. Macbeth is informed that he shall be
sitting upon the throne one day. After this, they turn to Banquo and
tell him that although he shall not be the king, he will have them
(Act I Scene III 'All hail Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter!')
('Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none').

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Women in Macbeth by William Shakespeare." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=113154>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Women in Macbeth by William Shakespeare Essay

- Women in Macbeth by William Shakespeare In modern times, women have been walking shoulder to shoulder with men to match, at times, even excel any of man's accomplishments. From the likes of Mary Curie and her famous invention to the space travelling women of today, the feminine gender has been an influential one to today's society. On the contrary, during the period where Shakespeare's play takes place, seemingly the 'Renaissance', an ordinary woman had very little say in their families, let alone in the society....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
699 words (2 pages)

Women in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Women in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Literature is a mirrored image of different ideas and conditions of humanity. Similarly, Shakespeare’s plays have frequently been argued to portray a more than biased gender viewpoint towards women. The story and relationships in Shakespeare’s Macbeth promote his female characters, while portraying his male characters as the weaker sex....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
726 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Views of Women in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

- The Views of Women Shakespeare, one of the most famous play writers in history, wrote Macbeth in 1606. Many women were not allowed to perform in plays during that time period; however, Shakespeare did have very few females act out roles in his play (Shakespeare: Sample). Shakespeare viewed his women as strong-willed individuals (“Macbeth.” 227 ) when in reality they were often gone unrecognized (Women in Anglo). The character, Lady Macbeth, was a frightening, ambitious woman. Lady Macbeth often wished to “unsex herself” to carry out the killing of King Duncan on her own as her husband showed no manly characteristics to do it....   [tags: marriage, anglo-saxon time period]

Research Papers
830 words (2.4 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Macbeth : Constant Societal Ideas About The Strength Of Women

- The play Macbeth, amongst other works crafted by the renowned playwright William Shakespeare demonstrates the constant societal ideas about the strength of men versus the fragility and overall feebleness of women. From the lowest class of society, all the way to the ruler’s wife, these traits are seen as burdens and often banished in return for power and strength. The acquisition of these naturally masculine traits secure the characters’ abnormal status, ultimately leading to their demise due to their tampering with set gender roles....   [tags: Macbeth, Gender, Woman, Gender role]

Research Papers
1041 words (3 pages)

Representation of Women in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Representation of Women in William Shakespeare's Macbeth You will present your coursework as a speech; you will also be expected to hnd in a one-page explanation of the points that you have included in your speech. Consider: v The socio-historical context in, which the play is written. v How women are portaied in the play and films. (Lighting, props, sound, costumes) v Dramatic devices and the effect they have on the way that women are portrayed. v The main themes in the play....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2442 words (7 pages)

Women as the Greatest Source of Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Women as the Greatest Source of Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Shakespeare wrote Macbeth the play in 1606. It was written to entertain the king (James 1st). The Play was preformed at Hampton Court and James was in the audience. King James would have enjoyed the play because it was very personal to him. He would have been able to relate to it as it linked to his own life in many ways. For example, in 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of catholic men tried to kill the king by blowing up the houses of parliament, but Fawkes was caught and executed....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1995 words (5.7 pages)

Women as the Driving Action of the Play in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

- Women as the Driving Action of the Play in Macbeth by William Shakespeare The female characters of the play - Gertrude and Ophelia - are each given unique personalities which influence the conclusion of the story. I think that both women play important roles and while each character is different in individual ways, they share similar qualities. Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius (a chief advisor to King Claudius). Shakespeare does very little to develop her character: she has very little stage time and few lines....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1427 words (4.1 pages)

Shakespeare's Portrayal of Women and Sovereign Issues in Macbeth Essay

- “Almost without exception, people feel constrained to play roles in accordance with what they believe to be the expectations of others” (Asp). During odd or unnatural events, these stereotypical expectations can be overshadowed and conquered by the intense desire for power or wealth. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Shakespeare alters the physical attributes associated with specific genders in order to illustrate the progression of a character’s actions and thoughts. Throughout history, stereotypical profiles of what a man or woman should be have determined how they are perceived by others....   [tags: william shakespeare, macbeth, duncan]

Research Papers
1497 words (4.3 pages)

Symbolism And Characterization Of Lady Macbeth By William Shakespeare Essay

- Women are considered the more feeble species of humans, however they are not the truly feeble species and we know this from several causes of history. Women have been lessened to men for several decades going back to before women could even vote. We see a shift in the traditional sense of male domination as we look at William Shakespeare 's, Macbeth, through the character of Lady Macbeth. “Women have a much better time than men in this world; there are far more things forbidden to them” (Oscar Wilde)....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Gender, Gender role]

Research Papers
1931 words (5.5 pages)

William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- William Shakespeare's Macbeth During the Elizabethan era, the great chain of being reigned. Women were low on this chain of power, and men were on top. In fact, women were below horses; you couldn’t live without a good horse, but, you could live without a wife. Lady Macbeth was a woman before her time, she was caught between being today’s ambitious, powerful modern woman and a fragile creature of the Elizabethan era. In the first four acts of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is vicious, overly ambitious, without conscience, and willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants....   [tags: William Shakespeare macbeth lady Essays]

Research Papers
1471 words (4.2 pages)

The Witches leave the
two, stunned and ambiguous from the encounter. Hereafter, they are
greeted by their counterparts who tell them about the ascension and
they realise that the prediction was indeed true. Due to this,
Macbeth's belief that one day he may become the king becomes stronger
and he wonders whether it is time that shall make him the king or is
it him that has to do something about it (Act I Scene III… 'chance may
crown me, Without my stir.')

Here we can see how the prophecy of the three Witches has influenced
Macbeth's mind. The fact that one of their predictions has become a
reality has led the Thane of Glamis to believe in them. The once loyal
general to the king Duncan is now thinking whether he shall wait or
does he need to take action himself in order to gain control of the
throne. Here we come across for the first time three women influencing
the events in the story. Had Macbeth and Banquo not met the Witches,
they would not have come across their foretelling and the thought of
being the king would have never crossed his mind. This would have
prevented the events that took place later on.

After the Witches, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth's wife, is the other woman
who affects the events in the story and perhaps, is the most
influential of them all. Incidentally, after returning from the
battle, Macbeth invites King Duncan to feast at his castle that
evening and informs his wife about this along with his strange
encounter. Upon hearing about the witches, Lady Macbeth is determined
to make Macbeth the king but doubts his husband's will to make the
witches' prophecy a reality (Act I, Scene V… 'Yet do I fear thy
nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness') From this, we
can see that the Lady has already made up her mind but questions his
husband's will to go through with the slaying of the king and from the
lines, it seems that she wasn't going to wait for Macbeth to become
the King. She is intending to do something about it herself, perhaps
in a more sinister way. She then thinks to herself that if she were a
man, she would do the deed herself.

Later on in the play, Lady Macbeth goes as far as emasculating her
husband, intending to provoke him to kill the king and gain control
over the throne. Ultimately, it proved to be effective as Macbeth
committed the sin. This, however, was due to the Lady's constant
provocation rather than Macbeth's own will. This event goes on to
influence the rest of the happenings in the story which ends
tragically.

From this, we can clearly see that the women in Shakespeare's Macbeth
play an important role in the story. The appearance of the witches at
the beginning gives an indication that this story will have women
affecting the storyline as well as the men. The marriage that we
encounter between Macbeth and his wife is not an ordinary one,
specially keeping in mind the time period. The Lady seems to 'wear the
pants' in the relationship and is quite predominant over her husband.
She gets whatever she wants from her husband either by demanding it or
in King Duncan's case, clear manipulation. It was Lady Macbeth, that
shaped the storyline and is arguably one of the most important
characters in the play!
Return to 123HelpMe.com