Lady Macbeth is a Feminist Role Model and a Despicable Human Being

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This fall, the second instalment of the Hunger Games trilogy was released in theatres. The main character, Katniss Everdeen, is a brave, intelligent, female character with an exceptional level of physical and inner strength. Even 50 years ago it would have been considered unacceptable to present this type of female in entertainment and media has made significant strides when representing women in such a positive way. Yet in the 16th century, Shakespeare crafted a character that shared many of the same traits as Katniss while simultaneous pleasing an audience with traditional views on femininity. As a result, Lady Macbeth is a feminist role model before the rise of feminist ideology in the mainstream and a truly evil person as well. Lady Macbeth is shown to be a leader as it is her ambition that is the driving force behind the murder plot and her husbands actions. She had the strength to go through with the plan to kill King Duncan and holds it together for both she and Macbeth after the muder is complete. Finally, in elizabethan England the idea that a women could be capable of such evil wrongdoing would have been inconceivable. The fact that Lady Macbeth had murderous thoughts makes her equal to the men she was surrounded by. It is through these points that Lady Macbeth’s character can be both vilified and explored as a feminist role model.
An audience who would have attended Macbeth in the 16th century would have believed that women we're incapable of ambition and leadership. Lady Macbeth shatters this when she latches onto the idea that Macbeth will be king and creates a plot to murder Duncan. While Macbeth is hesitant about assassinating the current monarch, Lady Macbeth doesn't have a second though; she tells her husband " Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would, ”Like the poor cat i' th' adage?" (1. 7. 42-46), when he expresses doubts. Lady Macbeth, is clearly in control in the Macbeth's relationship as demonstrated later, when Macbeth kills the King on his wife's direction. However, what Lady Macbeth is forcing her husband to do is unlawful and immoral even by today's standards. Lady Macbeth is a leader in her marriage and places value on heightening her own position of nobility, which would have been out of place in the mind of the original audience. Shakespeare makes it possible to present a female with common attributes of her powerful male counterparts when she uses them to do something heinous.
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