Gender And Gender Stereotypes In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, gender stereotypes are often related to power. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth show characteristics of presenting gender stereotypes of the opposite sex. Maureen Bohan of the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) defines gender stereotypes as “Preconceived ideas whereby males and females are arbitrarily assigned characteristics and roles determined and limited by their sex. Sex stereotyping can limit the development of the natural talents and abilities” (Bohan). Throughout the play audiences may read Macbeth as taking on the feminine role and Lady Macbeth as taking on the masculine role due to a gender stereotypical reading of these two characters. One can read the play in a gender stereotypical …show more content…
Even though Lady Macbeth presents her self in a male gender stereotypical way in the scene Macbeth only sees her in a female gender stereotypical way, that if she were to have children than she could only have male children. Macbeth compliments his wife with association to her gender, not to her attributes of being strong and …show more content…
She tells Macbeth that if he kills King Duncan he would become the King and be more than a man holding the highest form of earthly power because Kings were thought as Gods on earth. Women can also be seen as godly because they are the domains in which life is created. Kings are all powerful; something that Macbeth lacks because he is not acting as a man. Lady Macbeth acts as more than a man in her story, she acts as a God. The act of killing her own baby while it is drinking its life source, the life source that only she can provide him. Lady Macbeth feels that because she has been “unsexed” has godly powers, the ability to create and destroy life at her own will. This is clearly supportive of William T. Liston’s views of gender roles in “"Male and Female Created He Them": Sex and Gender in "Macbeth."” He states, “When men and women step outside these sex and gender roles, they lose their humanity” (Liston). After Lady Macbeth has been unsexed and become as she feels the stereotypical man, she looses a grip on humanity and her feministic power by thinking she is a God and would kill her own child. Liston’s argument is valid as Lady Macbeth begins to lose her grip on her own gender stereotypes she progressively loses her mind and her power, which is clearly evident with her suicide at the end of the

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