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Explore How Shakespeare Presents The Power Of Rhetoric In Act 1 Scene 7 Of “Macbeth”

947 words - 4 pages

In Act 1 Scene 7 of “Macbeth”, Lady Macbeth uses persuasive language to bring Macbeth from a man full of trepidation, to a hardened killer, ready to commit regicide. She does this in a variety of ways. The play was extremely controversial at the time; this was because it effectively reversed the gender roles of society. These roles were imprinted into the very fabric of medieval community; women were seen as inferior to males, and were brutally oppressed by the largely patriarchal society. As a result, shakespearean audiences would be shocked by the role reversal portrayed in Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth frequently uses insulting language, aiming to insult Macbeth’s masculinity. One instance where ...view middle of the document...

Macbeth’s cowardice and femininity is quite evident here, as he is shirking his ambition to be king. This juxtaposes his “soldier” stereotype, because a soldier is meant to be fearless. . He declares his willingness to risk eternal damnation but realizes that even on earth, murderous actions “return to plague th’inventor”. He then considers the reasons why he shouldn’t kill Duncan: Macbeth is his kinsman, subject, and host; in addition, the king is universally admired as a virtuous ruler. He faces the fact that there is no reason to kill the king other than his own ambition, which he realizes is an unreliable guide.

Extremely emotive language is used, when Lady Macbeth breaks her maternal instincts and says she would have “dashed” her baby’s brains out. A mother is supposed to protect a child with her life, so this would have shocked Shakespearean audiences greatly. It also contradicts her gender stereotype, as women were expected to be mild and gentle. Her masculinity is clear, because she is willing to give up something she loves dearly in order to fulfil her ambitions. She is questioning if Macbeth would do the same.

Oxymoron is used when Lady Macbeth says “When you durst do it, then you were a man”, as she is saying he was a man, and that she desired him when he plotted the assassination, and he has been reduced to less than a man now that he has let his cowardice blur his ambitions. Macbeth is a soldier, and has killed in battle, but now he is scared to eliminate just one man. This may be because of the religious implications of killing a king. A king was believed to be appointed by God, and therefore have the divine right to be...

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