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What Are The Attitudes Towards Gender That Can Be Seen In Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

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What Are The Attitudes Towards Gender That Can Be Seen In Shakespeare's Macbeth? When Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, the society was seen as feudal. This means that the society was male-dominated. Women were seen as carers, and were not involved in decision making. They also had less power and control than men. Also, in the time of Shakespeare, witchcraft was highly believed in. People who were accused of practicing witchcraft were usually female. This was also a way of controlling women. In Act 1, Scene 2, the phrase "...for brave Macbeth" is an indication of what a man is seen as. In the days of Shakespeare, to be a man' was to be ruthless and brutal. Macbeth is seen to have this quality because in a fight, he brutally killed his enemy "...un-seamed him from the nave to the chops." Also in the time of Shakespeare, women were not meant to be seen as violent. It is Lady Macbeth that is the one who actually plans the murder of Duncan, and gives motivation to Macbeth to carry out the actual act. She does not believe that she can be female and plan a murder at the same time. What is a good quality for a man is the exact opposite for a woman. ...read more.


At dinner, when he is seeing the ghost, Lady Macbeth tells him that he is not actually seeing it, but it is merely an image of his fear in his mind. "This is the very painting of your fear." She tells him that Banquo's is an image, like the image which of the daggers which lead him to Duncan. "This is the air-drawn dagger which you said led you to Duncan." When Macduff flees to England, leaving his wife and children behind, his wife, Lady Macduff, describes him as a coward. The image that is given is one of a man who will stay and fight to protect his family. She contrasts him to a wren, a small bird. She says "For the poor wren, the most diminutive of birds, will fight, Her young ones in her nest, against the owl. The wren is one of the smallest and weakest of birds, yet it will defend itself against a far greater force, the owl. This shows Macduff as a coward, because Macbeth is not that much of a greater power than him, yet he runs away at the first sign of danger. He wants 'the natural touch.' "All is the fear, and nothing is the love." His fear is greater than his love for his family. ...read more.


Being a true man was a very important quality, and something to be proud of. His son had been proven a true man by his frontal injuries, so his sorrows were not as great, as he knew he has raised a true person. "Gods soldier be he" Young Siward had the true qualities of a man, unlike Macbeth. Throughout this play, the message sent across to the reader us that men are more powerful and dominant over women. When we look at the play as a whole, the most powerful and dangerous people are the witches. The question can be asked, why are the witches female? They are described as the "weird sisters" and the "Midnight hags." We can say however, that even though they are sisters, they have male features. "you should be women, but your beards forbid me to believe it." This again can be seen as a situation where a woman cannot be seen as normal is she acts like a man. Because witches are dangerous and powerful, they cannot possibly be seen as 'real' women, and their beards allow this. Our overall impressions of the play are that men are seen as a higher power, and are more dominant than women. The female gender is looked down on, and the attitudes are, that if a woman is to be a true women, she must not possess anything that is seen as a quality for a man. John Keymer ...read more.

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