William Shakespeare 's Macbeth - Masculinity Essays

William Shakespeare 's Macbeth - Masculinity Essays

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The Way of life during the Elizabethan age must be examined in order explain the agency within the concept of masculinity in Macbeth. William Shakespeare uses Macbeth to show the agency that is created for women when men are pushed into proving their own masculinity. In order to fully understand Shakespeare’s portrayal of masculinity in Macbeth we must first examine the stereotypes of the Elizabethan era that effected Shakespeare’s writing. “Defining what a female was supposed to be and do was an act of Renaissance culture, as it has been for other times. For Shakespeare, as well as for most of Renaissance society, women as the feminine represented the following virtues which, importantly, have their meaning in relationship to the male; obedience, silence, sexual chastity, piety, humility, constancy, and patience. However, gender characteristics were socially constructed and there was an easy cross-over of masculine and feminine traits to both genders.”(Gerlach, Almasy, Daniel. Revisiting Shakespeare and Gender.)
Defining masculine and feminine characteristics allowed writers like Shakespeare to draw males with certain "feminine" characteristics and females with certain "masculine" characteristics. This merging of masculine and feminine traits in both males and females helps to explain how easy it was for the Elizabethan stage to employ and accept all male casts. These plays utilized men to play strong female characters like Lady Macbeth and the three bearded witches. The masculine and feminine “violations” in Macbeth were controversial to the patriarchal society, but they were Shakespeares way of reflecting fantasy and truth within gender stereotypes.
Feminine influence is a major theme in Shekespeare’s Macbeth because of the ...


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... Macduff’s is a prime example for finding balance within masculinity and femininity. Even though Macbeth violently entered this world he still felt pain for the death of his family. Since he was the slayer of Macbeth, this proves that absolute masculinity is only a fantasy that brings its advocates to their destruction. Macduff achieved the highest level of masculinity in the play, not because he destroyed his feminine side, but because he found balance between the two. Loyalty to ones country, integrity, and emotion were destroyed within Macbeth, due to his pursuit of the unachievable absolute masculinity. Striving to be more of a man created agency for females in Macbeth’s life and caused him to die without ever realizing what it truly means to be “Masculine.” Instead of becoming the man Macbeth strived to be, he was manipulated into losing his own sense humanity.

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William Shakespeare 's Macbeth - Masculinity Essays

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