Female Characters and References within Shakespeare's Play Macbeth – Term Paper

Consider the Female Characters and References within Shakespeare’s Play ‘Macbeth.’ What Attitude does the Play seem to build towards Women?

Women are portrayed in various ways in plays by Shakespeare. Shakespeare has attributed women to both strengths and weaknesses to give them their actual personalities. His works apparently reflect a picture of the treatment and conception of women in the Elizabethan period. Through the female characters in his plays, he reveals a great extent the marital and social status of this gender according to his epoch, the Renaissance. History shows that during the time of Elizabethan, women have been consistently submissive and meek. During the Renaissance, the biggest proportion of women never went to school unless they were from affluent backgrounds. They had to dedicate themselves to their household and family duties. Shakespeares plays offer an analysis of the situations of this gender in the 16th century. Nevertheless, the way he presents women in his writings is being contested, as critics debate that he has displayed much disrespect towards women. He has even been qualified as a misogynist and a sexist as it happens that his writings precede negative attitude towards the female gender.;In his plays, women have been portrayed as being oppressed by men, who torture them physically and mentally. In contrast, several influential women have been portrayed as being disloyal, wicked, and immoral. Evidently, gender is out of its customary order. This illustrated disruption of women is also described in Macbeth play through the usurpation of Lady Macbeth of the prevailing part in her marriage. In several instances, Lady Macbeth rules and commands the actions of her husband. The disruption of the functions of women is also depicted in the weird sisters. The three sisters are viewed as disrespectful to nature, and regardless of their description as sisters; their gender is presented as ambiguous. Therefore, this paper is a discussion of the attitude built towards women in Shakespeares Macbeth play.

Shakespeare has assigned power and authority to Lady Macbeth, the main character, yet the author suggests the risk of women getting involved in politics. From the start of the play, Lady Macbeth happens to be a character that creates plots of rebellion as she is shown as a strong character that influences the husband, Macbeth, to kill King Duncan. The author shows Lady Macbeth as being ambitious and greedy for power when he says that, Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend to it.;Nevertheless, it is Likely that Lady Macbeth is a reflection of women during the Elizabethan time since her sole method of legitimising power is using her husband. The scene of the English, perceived from an Elizabethan point of view, was conquered by one urgent requirement that was the necessity for civic stability assured by a monarchy hat is undisputed. This explains the uncertainty of the Realm, about the issues of the succession of Henry, the unsuccessful marriage of Mary as well as the ambivalence of the feelings of Elizabeth towards marriage. Critics portray Lady Macbeth as the one who alters a hero in the likes of Macbeth into a bully and also an individual who changes a conqueror into a traitor who appears to be despicable.;Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth to committing treason by murdering the king and claiming the crown that was provided. Regardless the fact that most female characters employed by Shakespeare being dependent and vulnerable, Lady Macbeth breaks the mould. However, the agony in Lady Macbeths mentality portrayed in the play means that she is just like any other female, as she says All the perfumes of Arabia could not make my little hand smell better, which shows her inner remorse that King Duncan’s blood cannot be removed from her hands. This statement further supports the notion that female gender employed by Shakespeare is perceived by the society as being weak. 

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Lady Macbeth appears to be one of the strongest females in all of Shakespeare’s writings. Nevertheless, consider how she has an obligation to contend with the role of the female gender in her world. For her to achieve her plans, she feels she has to request the gods to make her a man. Even then, it is not her intention to undertake the killing of Duncan herself but to use the nearest way that is by spurring her husband to perform the act. And to the irony of her trying to make herself a man is emphasised by the fact that she was attempting to be a dutiful and good wife of the freshly emerging culture of the middle-class, as she tried to be better than her husband. The society of Shakespeare is a society of warriors that has a small place for females. He saw women as being inferior to men and separated from political effects since they do not have the qualities needed to fit them in the society of warriors. This is illustrated in the first entrance of Macbeth into the play that follows his actions of bravery on the field of battle. In Macbeth, women are a dangerous presence. The fear of the women in power was a strong influence in present early England. Women could exercise authority over patrilineage where men could not. Females could be unfaithful in matrimony, hence altering the lineage, and the husband could be swindled into bringing up another persons child. Females could pass on characteristics, both desired and not desired, through the rearing of children, bringing up, neglect of children and bringing up of children. It was dreaded that women would perform infanticide. In the first act, the seventh scene, Lady Macbeth is found behaving like the eventual temptress. She proficiently pulls out every stop to influence her partner. When her husband informs her that We will proceed no further in this business, (1, vii), Lady Macbeth impugns the eventual description of manhood, his prowess sexually, when she gives a respond that Art though afeard/To be the same in thine own act and valor/As though art in desire? As the play continues, the reader will find out that Lady Macbeth becomes successful in convincing her husband to kill King Duncan. In this act, Shakespeare has portrayed women as forces of evil who manipulate men, specifically their spouses, into committing evil.;The women in Macbeth are a reflection of a set of rivalling opinions concerning the present day women.

The relative leniency of English witchcraft and the persecution of witches can, hence, be ascribed to the challenges involved in the translation of an image that has been derived from a mythology of sex that perceived women as universally mediocre and fundamentally evil into one that would seem credible to a society that saw the women in a distinct light. Therefore, there is a very conflicted reflection of woman as spring material for Macbeth. On one side, there is the text that vies women as being powerful and courageous members of the army in the society of the 11th century. On the other, the women of the period of Shakespeare circumscribed to an entirely subordinate and definite role, whereas ever more independent females start to emerge. Concurrently, and conceivably in part as of this, women are persecuted and feared and viewed as inherently evil. Evidently, the witches in the Shakespeares play are the eventual representation of the much feared sovereign lady. Of course, Lady Macbeth has her partner, and she very considerately describes him as “My Thane.”;The occultists in Macbeth are evident in the face of the male-controlled world. In the early stages of the play, the witches appear to have the superiority of men. Banquo and Macbeth meet three women on the upland without the sight of any man. Banquo is surprised of this when she utters that you should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret, that you are so, (1st act, verse 3). This means that even their appearance makes them look different from normal females.

In conclusion, the attitude towards women in Shakespeares Macbeth is highly represented by Lady Macbeth throughout the play. The biggest part of this theme is that women are portrayed as the ultimate source and influences of evil. It is a depiction that the only way a woman can have power over a man in the current society is through being evil. The evil of women is shown when Lady Macbeth influences the husband into killing King Duncan. Lady Macbeth is not affiliated with typecasts in the Macbeth play, but nevertheless, she is obligated to argue with them from both her inside and outside.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;