Macbeth - Gender Roles Essay

Topics: Gender role, Gender, Macbeth Pages: 2 (644 words) Published: May 22, 2013
Gender roles

In William Shakespeare's tragedy “Macbeth“, Shakespeare explores and challenges the ideas of traditional gender roles, regarding leadership, power and masculinity. These different gender roles are used to shape characters and create fear in the readers He leaves the question of what masculinity truly is open for the audience to decide. In the following essay, I will show some examples where Shakespeare made his own gender roles. It is important to understand the role that gender plays in today's society, as compared with the gender roles portrayed in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Masculinity is a strong symbol used within gender throughout the play, and is a parallel with icons today. Women are typically labeled as inferior and emotional human beings with a nurturing and caring role . They tend to have a harder time today when trying to get jobs that were previously only held by males, for example, high political positions (for example a president). The president is seen as powerful, and a symbol of strength representing the country. Unfortunately, because the stereotypical woman is seen as weak, women were not voted into high-ranking offices. The same unfair balance of gender is seen the same way in Macbeth.

From the opening scene, we begin to see the role that women play in Macbeth. The three ugly witches are gathered in a thunderstorm cackling greedily over their evil plans. Their chant of "fair is foul, and foul is fair" illustrates how women perform acts of ugliness and evil to achieve disorder. At the beginning of act 1, scene 3, page 17, when Banquo first sees the witches, he is very confused if they are women or men. He says they seem “too masculine“ to be women. The witches are figures that trigger Macbeth's murderous ambition, which brings about his ruin. It is their prophecy that leads Macbeth to consider Duncan in order to become king. We again see the feminine presence through the witches. This time they are casting spells on...
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