Who Is Free Will In Macbeth

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Pages: 6

Courage, Influence and Free Will
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. Power is a significant concept that is withheld by certain people with certain characteristics. Abraham Lincoln, in a position of power at the time, said that it can be used to “test a man’s character”. This may be true, however, his statement only referred to men and disregarded women altogether. Men have traditionally been known to obtain more dominant positions that coincide with more power, and in Macbeth and Antigone, this is portrayed in several aspects. However, women, in addition to several men, find a way to take hold of some authority by displaying masculine traits, despite many preconceived notions. Shakespeare
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Antigone and Macbeth consist of characters that use courage to gain power, and the playwrights, Shakespeare and Sophocles, oppose and conform with the stereotypes present during the time period by using patriarchy and gender roles to portray these concepts. In Macbeth, the character Macduff responds to the death of his family by defying the typical definition of a man, and displaying his misery by stating “But I must also feel it as a man. I cannot but remember such things were That were most precious to me.” (Shakespeare 4.3.261-263). Macduff’s courage to defy the stereotypes and exemplify sensitivity allows him to obtain some kind of positive power not present in most dominant characters. Furthermore, Macduff uses these emotions developed from the death of his “precious” family to access power and defeat Macbeth. Similarly, Antigone opposes the stereotypes of women by exemplifying strength, courage and dominance. Ismene asks Antigone “What? You’d bury him- when a law forbids the city?” (Sophocles 52-53). Antigone is brave enough to go against the laws of her Uncle and defy the actions of inferior women, like Ismene. Sophocles allows Antigone to possess courage in order for her to maintain power. Creon, however, exhibits courage in a …show more content…
In Antigone, Ismene says “What? You’d kill your own son’s bride?” (Sophocles 641) and Creon responds “Absolutely: there are other field for him to plow.” (Sophocles 642). Creon easily made the decision to kill Antigone, which caused a very significant impact on Haemon. Creon’s willingness to do so displays his attitude towards women, which is inferior and unimportant. He coincides with the idea that women are objects, and that they can be used at man’s pleasure. However in Macbeth, Shakespeare allows women more dominance and importance through the three witches. Banquo says, “You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.”(Shakespeare 1.3.47). The three witches have masculine features, such as the beards, which allow them to defy the typical stereotypes of women. The beards act as a feature that increases the power withheld by the women because of their masculinity. Additionally, Hecate, one of the most powerful and controlling characters, says to the witches, “And I, the mistress of your charms, The close contriver of all harms, Was never called to bear my part, Or show the glory of our art?” (Shakespeare 3.5.6). Hecate indirectly controls humans by being the leader of the