Essay Example on Within In 11th century Scotland women had a very limited Role









The Power Within In 11th century Scotland women had a very limited role in society As the burden of financial sustainment fell upon men the women's social position was reduced to that of a mother Women were expected merely to be good devoted housewives looking tenderly after their children Altogether they were seen as the weaker gender submissive towards men seen to be emotionally unstable and constantly taken by different moods In a society with no room for female values Shakespeare carves out a significant space for female characters that grab onto masculinity showing great power and bravery The characters identify this social construct of femininity as a vulnerability and therefore seek to de feminize themselves in order to be able to follow their ambitions In the beginning of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a loyal warrior who would do anything for his Country Macbeth is hailed as a hero because he has killed the rebel McDonald and is continuing to face the Norwegian troops successfully Macbeth triumphed again capturing the traitor Cawdor obtaining ransom and a favorable peace treaty from the King of Norway For brave Macbeth well he deserves that name is used by a Sergeant to describe his actions in battle 

O valiant cousin worthy gentleman are used by the King 1 2 24 This shows that Macbeth really was a hero as such a compliment from the King was considered a great honor King Duncan sentences Cawdor to death and rewards Macbeth with his title as Thane of Cawdor The Weird Sisters indirectly control Macbeth and his actions They may not actually be forcing Macbeth to do certain actions but their prophecies have a great impact on him The witches are major characters and have the most power over Macbeth because of their ability to manipulate Macbeth into madness and performing gruesome crimes You should be women And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so 1 3 46 48 They embody both masculine and feminine traits not only in their appearance but in their actions as well They are a clear authority figure in Macbeth's life They warn him about everything that will happen in his life but in such a way that causes him to think he will never be harmed and that all of his goals will be achieved In this way the witches dominate and control Macbeth by using male traits to their advantage and manipulating the situation for their benefit Lady Macduff is both strong and family minded Although she condemns her husband to her son 

Lady Macduff shows her love to Macduff when the murderers enter the castle Macduff's wife protects her son which is expected from a mother For the poor wren The most diminutive of birds will fight Her young ones in her nest against the owl 4 2 11 When the Murderers ask where Macduff is she shows her bravery when she insults them saying I hope in no place unsanctified where such as thou might find him Lady Macduff is calling the assassins unholy which was an offensive comment in Shakespearean times This shows the courageousness of Lady Macduff Similarly to Lady Macbeth she uses traits of masculinity such as bravery to gain power and strength She only used them when she needed protect her child which is a very feminine reaction and would be expected of any mother Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are on the same playing field and neither one has more power than the other The raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements 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 the access and passage to remorse 

That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between The 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 Hold hold 1 5 2 She recognizes that her womanhood is only to her disadvantage preventing her from performing acts of violence and cruelty which she associated with manliness When Macbeth is unwilling to go through with the murder she tells him to be a man Shakespeare gives his female characters masculine traits as a way to give them power All these characters break down the stereotype at the time proving that women can be powerful Gender is not a biological aspect for them It is a decision and attitude that they adopted They use the idea of masculinity and femininity for their own purposes to persuade others to obey their plans and to justify their own actions

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