Macbeth Gender Roles

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Macbeth Gender Role Mini-Essay By Dashiell Hunter In society, men are usually expected to act tough and uncaring. This is usually because men are generally seen as the stronger of the genders, or the patriarch, the head of the household. According to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, “Unmarried virgins and wives were to maintain silence in the public sphere and give unstinting obedience to father and husband.” Clearly, in the time when Macbeth was written, society expected men to be more dominant and outgoing than women.Before Macbeth kills the king, he portrays the decidedly more feminine role in the tragedy of Macbeth. The significance of gender roles in Macbeth are important because the main character and his wife both defy the traditional gender roles and have exchanged gender roles with each other. When Macbeth is doubting the decision to kill King Duncan, and his wife, Lady Macbeth, responds by challenging his manhood saying, “When you durst do it, you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.” (Act 1. Scene 7. 55, 56, 57, 58) In this scene, Lady Macbeth is being very cruel and unforgiving in this act, acting more like the man society would expect Macbeth to be. In act 2, Macbeth is seen being very remorseful about his actions and decisions that led to him killing the king, generally playing the more feminine role, acting the way society would expect the female role to act. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, is seen being very uncaring, nonchalant, and generally just very unconcerned with the situation and killing the king, the way society would expect the male role to play. During a conversation between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, after Macbeth has killed the King, they have this exchanging of words: “Macbeth: “This is a sorry night. Lady Macbeth: A foolish thought to say a sorry night.” (Act 2.

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