How does shakespeare represent women in macbeth?

Authors Avatar

How does Shakespeare represent women in Macbeth?

Women in Macbeth are represented in varied ways. However, most of the ways are represented as evil. For example Lady Macbeth and the wives are portrayed as evil and scheming and manipulative toward the opposite sex to reach their highly bitter ambitions.

The witches

In the beginning scenes of Macbeth, the witches are seen as mysterious. This is shown when in act 1 scene 1 they plot to do something later on. Stage directions showed thunder and lightning which Shakespeare intended to make the atmosphere of the audience mysterious and dark, which gives the audience an impression that the witches are up to no good.

The first witch says “when shall we three meet again” “In thunder, lightning or in rain?” Another mysterious scene is where they meet Macbeth and disappear into the air. Act 1 scene3 line 77 shows the stage direction of when they vanish.

One other mysterious point was where the witches spoke in riddles in which to confuse Macbeth’s mind. This is shown continuously; however one of the riddles describes Macbeth turning from thane of Glamis, to thane of Cawdor then to king

Join now!

“All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor” “all hail that shall be king hereafter.” This shows that the witches were also supernatural as they could see the future. In the Shakespearean times this was seen as superstitious and at the current time king James was very aware of witches. So aware that that he had a law passed that if you had skin like a dead person, that you were accused of witchcraft.

The effect that it was first used to prevail, however in the end; the supernaturalism was used against him and made Macbeth defenceless.

These witches ...

This is a preview of the whole essay

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay


The exploration of women in 'Macbeth' is a very interesting topic; however the way it has been done in this essay doesn't allow for enough in depth analysis. When looking at the women in the play, contrast and link them and consider how they are used by Shakespeare to shape the plot and other characters. 3 Stars