Gender Roles Of Shakespeare 's Macbeth Essay

1353 Words Mar 12th, 2016 6 Pages
In the Scottish tragedy Macbeth, William Shakespeare plays with gender roles typical of the Elizabethan era, by swapping the traditional attributes of men and women. In the society in which the play takes place, men reign supreme, independently making all decisions without consultation with, or affirmation from, subservient women. This is not the case with Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor. Instead, it is his wife Lady Macbeth, who assumes the dominant role in the marriage, defying historical gender stereotypes. Despite being the patriarch, and previously exhibiting his strength of will on the battlefield, Macbeth succumbs to manipulation by women, taking on a subservient role in his marriage. Additionally, Shakespeare blurs the lines between male and female gender roles through the three witches, or “Weird Sisters.” {JOLIE u need to add a very short sentence here hinting at how the “lines are blurred” with the witches.}In Macbeth, Shakespeare plays with gender stereotypes to show that gender is not a de facto determinant of weakness or strength, or of kindness or cruelty. Rather, it is the nature of the person, irrespective of gender, that determines these characteristics.

Written in the 17th century and set in the 11th century, Macbeth completely overturns expectations of men’s and women’s roles. Women are required to obedient and nurturing wives. Men are required to be the decision-makers and the breadwinners. Lady Macbeth recognizes existing expectations of her sex, and…

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