From the examples provided, it is clear that Macbeth is more masculine than women, however, he is constantly controlled by them. By representing the idea of masculinity as radically, Shakespeare is able to show the strengths and limitations of a patriarchal society. Initially in the play, Shakespeare introduces the idea of masculinity by creating a strong link between the concepts Of masculinity and cruelty.
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In the beginning, the idea of masculinity is related to endless aggression and ruthlessness.
When Lady Macbeth plans to murder the king of Scotland, she encourages herself by saying: Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsexes me here And fill me from the crown to the toe topsoil Of direst cruelty… (I. V. 39-42) This quote reveals that Lady Macbeth is driven by her ambition and is willing change her gender in order to gain courage to murder the king, showing that the Jacobean audience viewed males as the only gender that is capable of performing evil acts and being physically strong.
By using metaphorical language such as “unsexes”, Shakespeare shows the clear link between masculinity and cruelty, implying that the two ideas are connected and resemble each other. As the story progresses, Macbeth and Lady Machete’s traditional understanding of masculinity eventually leads to political chaos. In edition, Lady Machete’s sinful wish to ‘fill me from the crown to the toe topsoil of direst cruelty’ opposes the characteristics of a typical “gentle” and “obedient” wife of the Jacobean era.
By using figurative language such as “crown”, Shakespeare illustrates a sense of royalty, which shows Lady Machete’s strong aspiration to become queen. Through showing Lady Machete’s inner desires, the author is able to challenge conventional ideas and convey that female characters are also able to become the source of evil. Overall, the ideas of masculinity and cruelty are strongly connected in the ginning of the book, and by adding “masculine” traits to a female character, Shakespeare is able to challenge the conventional ideas of gender roles in a society. Unrestrained masculinity Will lead to chaos and disorder in the society. As the story progresses, Macbeth constantly desires to prove his manliness. His craving for violence intensifies as he heartlessly murders Banquet and Macadam’s family. Undoubtedly, Macbeth, the man that “none of woman born/ Shall harm… ” (IV. I. 79;80), is the standard example of the initial definition of masculinity, a man who ruthlessly murders without guilt. Similar to the itches’ prophecies, femininity no longer influences him.