William Shakespeare 's ' Macbeth ' Essay

1551 Words Oct 27th, 2016 7 Pages
Manbeth Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare, deals with a byronic hero’s violent attempts to gain control of his fate and his struggle with the weight and repercussions of those actions. Although a prophecy from a set of witches provides milestones of the play, it also serves as a catalyst for Macbeth’s slew of murders and quest for power. While fate and madness are large themes in this play, the question of manliness and attempt to seize it serves not only as many character’s mortal flaw, but is treated as a psychological weapon to manipulate characters into action when questioned. This alteration of manliness affects not only the villainous Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, and the murderers that Macbeth employs, but even the supposed hero MacDuff. Instead of an intrinsic value of manhood, each of these cases in the work treats manliness as a mostly negative weapon or trait that can be employed as a call to action. Lady Macbeth offers what could be described as the pinnacle of this manipulation of manhood near the beginning of the play in her famous “unsex me” speech. Presented in a scene that depicts Lady Macbeth reading a letter from Macbeth about the prophecy of the witches, she quickly infers that “Thou wouldst be great, / Art not without ambition” (I.v.16-17). This manages to introduce the trait of ambition in position which is a consistent trait of contemporary and current manliness. Realizing that Macbeth might not have the wherewithal to accomplish grim tasks that might…

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