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Women in Macbeth

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Introduction

How do Women Contribute to the tragic downfall of Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth?? Women in Macbeth are represented in varied ways. However most of the ways are represented as evil. Shakespeare creates heroines that have full characters who go against the grain of the Elizabethan notion of what a woman should be, opposed to accepted writings that show women as sexual objects only and contains all the characteristics of the ideal Renaissance woman. Not only are Shakespeare's women presented as sexual objects but he discards the notion of the inferior female and introduces us to his heroines of all kinds of human qualities like innocence, seductiveness, ambition, commitment, obedience, frustration, intelligence, power and character. All Shakespeare's works symbolically explore the conflict between male and female, or control and emotion, within society and the individual self. In Shakespearian times, your typical traditional women were often inferior to man. There were seen as unequal. Women were only really recognized for their relationship to the men. (Father, brother or husband) They had no real identities of their own. Women in sixteenth century England has no vote, few legal rights, and an extremely limited chance of an education, and a job. Freedom enjoyed by an Elizabethan woman was granted, and taken away by her husband. Both church and state supported this premise of wifely inferiority and it got a further approval from the law. When a woman married, she traditionally lost control over her property. ...read more.

Middle

[QUOTE] She takes a great risk when she insults his masculinity. Calls him a "wimp" and a "scaredy cat" [QUOTE] She weakens him as she compares him to the cat that wants the fish but doesn't want to get his paws wet. We see here how much she is driving Macbeth to be King, but of course we catch impressions of her own ambition to be queen. Then she starts to compare his inability to commit the murder to her ability to dash her own baby's brains out. Through the play, Lady Macbeth hints that she was emotionally scarred, perhaps she had had a child but it had died. Lady Macbeth was already set on her decision that King Duncan will die whatever Macbeth says. But if Lady Macbeth hadn't been in the picture at all, it is quite obvious that Macbeth wouldn't have murdered the King. In Act 2 Scene 2, Lady Macbeth covers up for Macbeth when he breaks down after the murder. He becomes instantly paranoid after the murder. He said that the guards muttered in their sleep [QUOTE] this shows that he is beginning to crack and he is imagining things that will eventually contribute to his downfall. Macbeth makes the mistake of killing the guards. Although he does it as if in a rage about the King's death, after when he was explaining his deeds to the King's Men, he starts to babble. ...read more.

Conclusion

Witchcraft and supernaturalism was seen as a sin because of the strict religion in Shakespearean times. Lady macduff, although she only appears in one scene, she has an important role. Lady Macduff is represented in Macbeth as a defenceless, pure character with good and innocent who suffered under Macbeth. She is made out to be the blissful female so that the audience would sympathise and care for the very few scenes she was put in. She provides the audience with an insight into the events occurring in Scotland and gives a contrast to the evil Lady Macbeth. Lady Macduff obviously has some strong opinions on Macduff reaction to Macbeth's behaviour. She uses imagery to describe her situation as a bird. [QUOTE] When Macduff left his family, Lady Macduff probably felt lost and vulnerable, forced to single-handly take care of the children. Unlike Lady Macbeth, lady Macduff is nurturing and helpless, such as what was expected of the women at that time. She possibly felt unsafe with the children being left on their own since she can't really protect them like Macduff can. In Shakespearean times the husband had to be supportive and strong as they're the person that holds the family together, bring home the food and protect the family. Although Macduff wasn't there to protect the family when they were in need, Macduff did what his guts told him to do. Lady Macduff disagreed with the idea of moving with him. The reason of her not speaking up when she could was the stereotypical ideas that the Shakespeare men had on women. The truly believed that they should ONLY cook, clean and care for the family. ...read more.

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