Power Through Gender Roles In Macbeth

1055 words - 4 pages

Gender inequality dates back to early modern times when philosophers assumed that human beings were created for different roles in life. Unfortunately, women received the short end of the stick. Women were decided to be weaker, less able intellectually and unable to control her emotions, whereas nowadays, this is not always the case. Very few women were educated, and expected to marry young, stay home and do domestic work, rather than go out into the big wide world and make it for themselves.The aim of this essay is to explore the gender roles in Shakespeare's Macbeth, particularly between Macbeth himself and Lady Macbeth, compare the original text with Roman Polanski's film version, while exploring the reading position.In Polanski's film, Lady Macbeth initially portrayed as decisive, controlling and has a large influence over Macbeth. Throughout act 1/scene 5 she is situated above him, while Macbeth is lying on the bed. Macbeth tells her that King Duncan is coming to the castle for a banquet. Lady Macbeth's facial expressions and actions show her nimble thinking. She is stroking his face, mothering him, which is her way of buttering him up for the evil plan she is to unravel, to kill the king giving Macbeth the chance to be in his position. This sets the scene for the Macbeth's power hungry demeanour. Lady Macbeth is able to convince Macbeth to kill King Duncan that night after the banquet. A powerful image is promoted of Lady Macbeth throughout this scene in the film, although in Shakespeare's text it is hard to conjure this up. The reader is forced to take Lady Macbeth's side, she is so far in control that what they are going to do almost seems right. Proof of her control is evident, but in Polanski's film it had much more emphasis on it, due to camera angles and certain actions.In act 1/scene 6 we are invited into the hall where the banquet is taking place. Macbeth is thinking things through logically, thinking of the consequences of Killing King Duncan. He is having second thoughts on the plan, and makes it known to Lady Macbeth. She responds with questioning his virility, and his love for her. She begins to cry, though in the film we are unsure if she is really crying, or just pretending to get Macbeth to do what she wants. She is using her femininity as a tool, a powerful tool to bring him down and buckle under her to do what she wants. The reader sympathises with Lady Macbeth, until she switches her mood and we can tell that she is only doing this to get what she wants. She is showing determination, and courage, she is showing that she is running the show. She turns her mood from crying to flirting with the King, this is showing that she has everything under control, she feels completely at ease with the situation.In act 2/scene 1 Lady Macbeth is still showing her determination, with a passive face she takes the jug from Macbeth to go and put the guards to sleep. A...

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