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Macbeth 24

  • Date Submitted: 05/10/2011 04:09 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.8 
  • Words: 642
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There are a number of differences between the male and female characters within Macbeth; some characters even seem to have a different ‘gender’ from their ‘sex’. ‘Gender’ is expressed in terms of masculinity and femininity.   It is how people perceive themselves and how they expect others to behave.   In Macbeth, men were expected to be strong, intelligent, courageous, and active, while women were seen as weak, ignorant, fearful, and passive.   A man had to support his family, make all decisions and control his wife and children; in contrast a woman had to have her husband’s children, look after the home and serve her man.   Gender roles in this play are deeply explored and are ultimately the death of some characters.   In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, Shakespeare gives in great detail the true definition of gender and what it is to be a man.   Macbeth was at first a man who did not acquire the traits of a real man until his wife, the more masculine of the two, breaks down the very obvious issue.
William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tragic tale of one man’s deadly and unchecked ambition to be king, and his wife’s lust for power and title.   By the final act of the play, Macbeth has been consumed by his own drive.   The prophecies he once thrived upon have turned against him and left him helpless to alter his own destiny.   The characters in Macbeth are frequently dwelling on the issue of gender, which ultimately dictates a majority of their actions throughout the play.   This is evident in the contrasts between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the idea of manipulation through gender, and the reversed gender roles found in these characters.   Lady Macbeth feels she needs to be the one to the “dirty” work that her husband wants to avoid and desires to be the man that her husband is not:

[…] 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;


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