Macbeth: Manliness Essay

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Macbeth: Manliness Given different titles, ideas, characterizations and powers, men have been a vital part of human survival since the beginning of mankind. Since time, men have been described in countless, positive ways, such as brave, wise, powerful, and rugged. However, there are also negative connotations in which men are given, such as angry and controlling. The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare portrays men as valorous and honorable. Men are often compared, and set as examples of specific actions, such as killing, or many other violent behaviors. The common cliché of “be a man” is stated and used in context several times in Macbeth. Manliness, in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, is portrayed as a symbol for one to act with bravery, honor, and power in order to succeed in a mission, along with the stereotype being used as a manipulation technique. Violence is a major motif in Macbeth. In many scenes, violence is readily available, in which it is normally committed or illustrated by the protagonist, Macbeth. Shakespeare takes the violence and relates it to manliness. Lady Macbeth, who, behind public eyes, is a very savage, threatening force, wants to remove her womanhood in order to commit tyrant crime herself: “The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts / And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers” (Shakespeare, I.5.53). Lady Macbeth is calling upon the gods to “unsex” her so she can proceed and help Macbeth commit the murder of Duncan. During the Shakespearian era, women and men were viewed quite differently. Women, in contrast to men, had the stereotype of kind, calm, and loving. The reason Lady Macbeth wants to “unsex” herself is in order to remove the kindness and calmness and become more manly, or more aggressive and fierce. With this in mind, Lady Macbeth knows that in her time, for a woman to commit a murder is unheard of. As
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