Femininity In Macbeth

Words: 1152
Pages: 5

Have you ever been looked down upon for not doing something that wasn’t “manly” or “womanly”? That is a message that Shakespeare tries to convey in his play Macbeth. Two of the main characters in the play are husband and wife Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Three other important characters from the play are the three witches. A recurring theme in Macbeth by William Shakespeare is masculinity/femininity. He is trying to convey to readers that males and females are “looked down upon” for not doing something “manly” or “ladylike” according to society's standards. One example of this is when Banquo is talking to the three witches in Scene 1 Act 3 after they have greeted Macbeth and they promise Banquo that he will father kings. Banquo says to the …show more content…
Macduff says “He has no children. All my pretty ones? Did you say "all"? O hell-kite! All? What, all my pretty chickens and their dam At one fell swoop?” (4.3 255-258). Malcolm then says “Dispute it like a manI” (4.3 259). Which leads to Macduff saying “Shall do so, But I must also feel it as a man.I cannot but remember such things were that were most precious to me (4.3.260-262). What Macduff first said means he doesn’t have children. All my pretty little children? Did you say all? Oh, that bird from hell! All of them? What, all my children and their mother dead in one fell swoop?. Malcolm tells Macduff fight it like a man. Finally, Macduff says he will, but he also will have to feel it like a man. He can’t help remembering the things that were most precious to me. This shows that Shakespeare is trying to convey the message to modern readers because Macduff is told to take the news that his entire family has been killed like a man because he doesn't want to look “weak” or “ladylike”. The message is also conveyed to readers when Lady Macbeth learns that the King is coming tonight and Macbeth doesn't want to commit the murder. She says “Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,And fill me from the crown to the toe top- full Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood. Stop up th' access and passage to remorse,That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between Th' effect and it. Come to my woman's breasts,And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief. Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry