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Shakespeare's Macbeth presents more than the simple tale of a murder and revenge. Macbeth wants to be king, and Duncan stands in his way. However, Macbeth hesitates. His wife, Lady Macbeth, must urge him on strongly, like a rider whipping a horse. Macbeth does not want to commit the murder because it creates a conflict in his unconscious mind. Specifically, the act of plunging a knife into Duncan's breast is like the sex act, making the murder a homosexual act for Macbeth. For Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, it is a reversal of the normal sexual roles. She has plays the dominant, male role, forcing her husband and Duncan both to take the submissive, female role. She is much stronger than her husband, and she uses her strength to force him into the act of murder.
Most of the action in Macbeth takes place in the darkness that comes just before dawn. The murder, the nightmares, and the confession all take place in the hours of the night when most people are sleeping, either alone or with a lover. When the blood begins to flow, it becomes a metaphor for sex. Lady Macbeth displaces her desire to destroy her husband onto Duncan, and Macbeth displaces his desire to dominate his wife sexually onto Duncan. The poor victim of these psychological mechanisms, Duncan, is killed more like the victim of a rape than the victim of a murder. When his blood flows, and his life ebbs away, Lady Macbeth feels a sexual orgasm, and Macbeth feels the loss of his erection at the end of the act.
Macbeth is trying to prove his manhood by committing the murder, and Lady Macbeth is unconsciously expressing her desire to possess the power of a man, which Freud called "penis envy." The murder causes a greater conflict for Lady Macbeth because of her deep psychological problem, which is that she cannot accept her position in the world as a member of the weak female sex.
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"Sex and Darkness in Shakespeare's Macbeth." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jan 2020
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