Analysis Of Shakespeare 's ' Macbeth ' Essay

1343 Words Aug 14th, 2015 6 Pages
Gender helps to dictate how characters are defined. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, though the line between hero and villain is constantly blurred, there is a strong divide in how men and women are treated in the text. If villainy is defined by a character driven to evil through their own ambition and self-interest, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are the play’s villains. However, these characters are treated very differently by Shakespeare and by the play’s society due to their genders. Unlike Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is unable to fulfill the role of a villain, not only because of the boundaries set for her in her world due to her gender, but because she buys into these boundaries. Furthermore, by behaving outside of stereotypical gender confines, she falls through the cracks of the play’s narrative, never having a satisfying ending to her story. This is because she does not fit into the standard dichotomy of hero and villain, so her story has no set pattern to follow - there is no need for a hero to defeat her in the end. Therefore, Lady Macbeth can never become the villain of Macbeth because of the limitations placed on her gender, and the slow death her character experiences as she attempts to operate outside of the boundaries set for her in her world.

Lady Macbeth consistently refers to her womanhood as an obstacle she must surpass to be able to reach her goal of killing King Duncan. Upon receiving Macbeth’s letter that details the prophesy predicting his reign, her immediate…

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