Masculine Mannerism In Macbeth

1152 Words 5 Pages
Masculine Mannerisms
Gender roles have ruled society and normalities for both women and men for centuries. Men are expected to be dominant and willing to be violent, while women are supposed to be submissive and innocent. The expectations for both are very different, and straying from the norm has always seemed bizarre. Literature has become a way to stress the importance that gender roles have on society, as well as a way to show the alternation of characteristics between women and men. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the stark difference between womanly and manly qualities is an important theme. Women take the role of men, and vice versa. The line between the two is blurred, and the value of manliness is questioned. Although critics may argue
…show more content…
When Lady Macbeth decides that she and her husband need to kill King Duncan, she realizes that she needs to be violent, like a man. She says, “Come, you spirits/That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,/And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood”(Shakespeare I. v. 41- 44). Lady Macbeth connects manliness to violence. In order for her to be able to commit such an unforgiving act as murder to get what she wants, she must act like a man. She acts more dominant than her husband, brushing off Duncan’s murder like it was a common thing, even making Macbeth feel feminine for regretting it, saying, “When you durst do it, then you were a man” (Shakespeare I. vii. 49). Macbeth’s innocence and shock at the idea of murdering the king he was so loyal to was the way a woman would feel. Lady Macbeth made him feels this way, and the only way for him to be a man was to be violent and act on a whim like she did. It was Macbeth’s savagery that led to his demise at the hand of rebels. Hence, violence is made to be a manly, aspirational quality in Macbeth which only hurts those who act this way in the

Related Documents

Related Topics