Masculinity And Femininity In Macbeth Essay Examples

Essay on Maternity and Masculinity in Macbeth and Coriolanus

2837 Words12 Pages

Maternity and Masculinity in Macbeth and Coriolanus

The power of womanhood is linked with both maternity and masculinity in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Coriolanus; one might say that they are interchangeable. Lady Macbeth becomes the psychologically masculine force over her husband, essentially assuming a maternal role, in order to inspire the aggression needed to fulfill their ambitions. Similarly, in Coriolanus, Volumnia maintains a clear, overtly maternal position over Coriolanus, molding him to be the ideal of heroic masculinity that both separates him from the rest of the characters and inescapably binds him to his mother.
These two plays, more than any other in the Shakespearean canon, throw into doubt the notion of a…show more content…

Their androgyny, however, places them outside of the realm of expected gender roles, foreshadowing the upset of such roles by other characters.

In between these scenes, we are thrust into the aftermath of a great battle, where the definition of manhood is clearly defined, and one man stands alone as the pinnacle of masculinity. The Captain declares: For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor’s minion carved out his passage (1.2.16-19),

Macbeth’s victory over Macdonwald proves his manhood by displaying his ability to act as a man. The link between manhood and violence is extremely prevalent in Macbeth. After hearing an account of Macbeth’s bloody victory, Duncan declares, “Oh, valiant cousin, worthy gentleman” (1.2.24), and Macbeth is awarded a higher position in the government: Thane of Cawdor. If gender is proved through performance, then Macbeth has succeeded in becoming the epitome of masculinity.

“Maternal power in Macbeth,” Janet Adelman writes, “is not embodied in the figure of a particular mother (as it is in Coriolanus); it is instead diffused throughout the play” (Adelman 131). This “maternal malevolence”(131) is introduced with the witches, but quickly spreads to Lady Macbeth. After she learns of his encounter with the witches and his plot to usurp the

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The Influence of Masculinity in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

524 Words3 Pages

Macbeth uses his manhood to portray his solider like qualities, but Lady Macbeth’s masculinity manipulates Macbeth’s actions, however, in the end it is Macbeth who uses his masculinity to do heinous actions. Macbeth uses his solider like qualities to exemplify his masculinity. When the captain was explaining to Duncan about Macbeth the Captain says, “Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. … they were as cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe” (1.2.35-38). The Captain shows the bravery of Macbeth by comparing him to “cannons overcharged with double cracks,” which means they were as if cannons loaded with double ammunition. This comparison shows that the Caption thinks Macbeth…show more content…

Macbeth uses his manhood to portray his solider like qualities, but Lady Macbeth’s masculinity manipulates Macbeth’s actions, however, in the end it is Macbeth who uses his masculinity to do heinous actions. Macbeth uses his solider like qualities to exemplify his masculinity. When the captain was explaining to Duncan about Macbeth the Captain says, “Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. … they were as cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe” (1.2.35-38). The Captain shows the bravery of Macbeth by comparing him to “cannons overcharged with double cracks,” which means they were as if cannons loaded with double ammunition. This comparison shows that the Caption thinks Macbeth resembles strength, because he describes Macbeth as cannons; Macbeth’s strength is one way he exemplifies his manhood. In addition, the Captain explains “sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion,” which compares how frightened Macbeth was about to the other kingdom, to how a sparrows frighten eagles, or rabbits frighten a lion. Again, the Caption is comparing Macbeth to an eagle or a lion, which shows that Macbeth is a noble creature that fights for what it wants. This also exemplifies that Macbeth uses his masculinity to scare off the other kingdom in war. When the Captain is explaining Macbeth’s successes, Duncan exclaims “O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!” (1.2.24). Duncan is the king of the kingdom and he portrays that he thinks that Macbeth is

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