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Macbeth by William Shakespeare

  • Date Submitted: 04/10/2012 06:35 PM
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Literary Analysis Essay

In the play “Macbeth,” by William Shakespeare, the topic gender roles plays a

decently big part in the play even though it probably isn’t the most important topic. Lady

Macbeth shirks gender roles in the play so she can kill the king herself.

When Macbeth first found out his wife’s plot, he was hesitant to follow through

and kill King Duncan like she had planned. Since he wasn’t willing to follow through

with her plan at first, Lady Macbeth decided to give Macbeth a nice lecture about her

wanting to take away all her female characteristics and basically to just become a man.

“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!”(I.5.46-49). Lady Macbeth is basically saying

she wants to be a man because her husband won’t kill King Duncan as she planned. Later

on she admits that she was a part of King Duncan’s murder, “My hands are of your color,

but I shame to wear a heart so white." (2.2.79-80)

The witches play a major part in the play also because at first Banquo thinks they

are men because their beards but later finds out that the three witches are women. “You

should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.”(1.3.1).

Banquo’s confusion about the witches shows that they are to manly to be seen as women.

Just like Lady Macbeth who taunted Macbeth into killing King Duncan by questioning

his manhood, the witches trigger Macbeth’s murderous ambition which ends up killing



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