Essay On Shakespeare 's ' Macbeth '

1232 Words May 16th, 2016 5 Pages
Shakespearian Gender Roles
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the setting occurs during a time in which gender roles were not only rigidly defined, but also extremely demeaning towards women. A woman was thought to be soft, emotional, and only helpful as a mother figure; however Lady Macbeth’s character challenges this set role by attempting to “unsex” herself, or shedding the feminine characteristics that were thought to have made women weak. Lady Macbeth is in fact a sexist character because she desired to become “unsexed” in order to accomplish a task that a feminine character wouldn’t have been able to accomplish because of their weak characteristics, and it does make a difference in understanding the tragedy of her husband because her actions play a direct role in Macbeth’s fate.
After the great victory against the Norwegians, three witches arrive and inform Macbeth of how he is to become king. Macbeth does as any husband would do when told good news, and writes a letter to his wife to inform her. Lady Macbeth, upon hearing of the prophecy that had been told to her husband, came to the same conclusion he did in terms of how the throne were to become his; Duncan (The king) would have to die. As soon as she reads the letter, she begins to worry if her husband has what it takes to seize the crown, for “That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,/ And yet wouldst wrongly win” (Macbeth, Shakespeare, I, 5, 20-21). Macbeth desires what he has been prophesized, but he lacks the…

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