Is Femininity Weak In Macbeth? Essay

837 words - 4 pages

William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in 1603. The play was set in Scotland, 1040. At the time, society was patriarchal and men gained advancement by killing others. In contrast, women were usually gentle mothers who nurtured their children. However, the play Macbeth does not follow this blueprint as Lady Macbeth is the domineering partner and ultimately she leads to their demise.

In Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth implies that it is her husband that has weaknesses and that she has the strength to mend them. This may be evident in “that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round”. This inclines me to think that Lady Macbeth regards herself mentally stronger that Macbeth. Also, she appears to believe that she can pass her strength onto her husband and make him as equally strong as her. The language suggests that Lady Macbeth and her husband have role-reversed and she has acquired the cruelty and power associated with the fierce warrior, Macbeth.

Macbeth refers to his wife as “my dearest partner of greatness” in Act 1 Scene 5. This suggests that Macbeth considers his wife and him equal in authority. The word “greatness” leads me to believe that their co-operation and respect has led them to greatness and Macbeth sees his wife as a major part of his success. On the contrary, Macduff and his wife’s relationship is a lot more conventional as Lady Macduff is used as his commodity rather than a partner in Macduff’s success. This could suggest that femininity is traditionally viewed as weak but in the case of Macbeth and his wife it appear to be a much more modern, equal relationship.

Furthermore, in Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth suggests that she wants to lose all her femininity and gain more masculine traits. This inclines me to think that Lady Macbeth values the strength and nerve that comes with being a man over the cherishing morals of a woman. She asks spirits to “unsex her” which could imply that she has the mental strength of a man but wants to gain the physical strength an to be made into the man, her husband can’t be. In this scene, Lady Macbeth does hint that femininity is weak and has no chance of achieving success and this could be an insight to Shakespeare’s views.

Additionally, Lady Macbeth later...

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