Macbeth - Gender Roles Essay

628 Words May 31st, 2013 3 Pages
Macbeth
Gender roles

In William Shakespeare's tragedy “Macbeth“, Shakespeare explores and challenges the ideas of traditional gender roles, regarding leadership, power and masculinity. These different gender roles are used to shape characters and create fear in the readers He leaves the question of what masculinity truly is open for the audience to decide. In the following essay, I will show some examples where Shakespeare made his own gender roles.
It is important to understand the role that gender plays in today's society, as compared with the gender roles portrayed in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Masculinity is a strong symbol used within gender throughout the play, and is a parallel with icons today.
Women are typically labeled as
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Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are striving towards masculinity. The importance of masculinity to both of them is an issue of power. Lady Macbeth aspires to be a man so that she can show supremacy and be more of a ruler. Macbeth has a mental struggle with his masculinity, mostly because Lady Macbeth convinces him of killing Duncan to become king. Because Lady Macbeth cannot really become a man, she has to work vicariously through Macbeth, making him become king. To control Macbeth, she must use his aim to become more masculine, to drive his killing of Duncan. In Act I, Scene I, on line 51, Macbeth affirms, "I dare do all that may become a man. Who dares [do] more is none."
Later on in the play Lady Macbeth says that her husband is not ambitious enough and too “kind“ to do what it takes to become king. She plans to “chastise“ him with the “valour of [her] tongue“. That shows that Lady Macbeth is the dominant partner in their relationship which inverts the typical gender and social roles.

Macbeth is a tragedy filled with betrayal, prophecies and revenge. Throughout this book, Macbeth seeks guidance from the wrong people like the witches, his wife, whose ambition is as great as, if not even greater than his.
However, everybody must ask themself whether Macbeth is really the cold blooded murderer and traitor everyone thought him to be.
The peculiarity of the gender roles Shakespeare uses in Macbeth are that he presents the women's behaviour as a men's and the men's

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