William Shakespeare's Macbeth has been recognised as one of the most important tragedies in world literature which deals with the protagonist's noxious and unchecked ambition for the crown of the nation and the heroine's desire for power and position. Whereas the great tragedy by Shakespeare engages several essential concepts and themes, critics have often been stimulated by the playwright's representation of gender and power in the play…
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Thus, there are spectacular evidences all through the characterisation and the plot of the play which suggest the importance of the Elizabethan culture in the representation of 'gender' in Macbeth. Therefore, a paradox of sexual confusion and gender roles is evident at the heart of the play. "'Macbeth, a virile warrior-hero, is at the same time an 'unfinished man' who murders because he has been convinced by his wife that only through violence will he achieve a state of heroism. His manhood, displayed in the utterly 'masculine' form of bloodshed, is not self-determined or innate, but rather infused into him by Lady Macbeth." (Sch'rkhuber, 2007, p. 75). Therefore, this paper analyses Shakespeare's representation of 'gender' in Macbeth and compares it with the representation of 'gender' in the 21st Century referring to current literature, media, and poetry.
One of the central concerns of the critics of the play Macbeth has been the author's representation of feminism in the play which is noted for the reversal of gender roles. Thus, one finds that the playwright has been interested in representing females as dominating their counterparts and the major characters and themes of the play depict the difference in the sexual representation of males and females. Whereas both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are obsessed by the same passion of ambition, the playwright represents its effect differently in males and females. Lady Macbeth, the chief representative of females in the play, evidently violates the natural law concerning gender roles and the character of Macbeth enhances the reversal of gender roles in the play. "Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are fired by the same passion of ambition. However, while Macbeth is presented as violating moral law, Lady Macbeth seems to violate natural law: she is unfeminine. By eliminating in herself and her husband tenderness, pity and vulnerability to feeling - human qualities her culture tends to associate with women - Lady Macbeth becomes half man herself. Through his efforts to be supreme among all men, Macbeth re-enacts the ambivalence of his sexual identity: the more he tries to prove his masculinity, the greater his fusion with Lady Macbeth." (Sch'rkhuber, 2007, p. 75). Therefore, it is palpable to a careful reader of the tragedy that Lady Macbeth makes an essential attempt to assume masculine characteristics which can make herself a stronger person. In addition, she also disparages her male counterpart, Macbeth, by attacking his own masculinity. "Macbeth shows a reversal in gender roles. The play questions what constitutes masculinity and femininity. It is important to Macbeth to be seen as a strong, powerful man. Lady Macbeth taunts him and mocks his sexuality to force him to get the courage to kill Duncan." (Thacker, 2008).
In a careful analysis of the representation of feminism and masculinity in the play, one recognises that there is an evident reversal of gender roles by the playwright which can be comprehended as an attempt to identify with the contemporary Elizabethan culture.
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(William Shakespeares Macbeth Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 Words)
“William Shakespeares Macbeth Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/performing-arts/1534506-william-shakespeares-macbeth.
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