1. “Lady Macbeth is the real villain of Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth.” Do you agree? Lady Macbeth is a villain in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, about the battle of kingship in 17th centaury Scotland. But Lady Macbeth, driven by her ambition, is not the only harbinger of death. Macbeth is the real villain and Lady Macbeth is just a partner in crime, egging him on because of her desire to be Queen.
Some critics see Shakespeare’s King Lear as an anti-feminist text because of different contributing factors such as the reasons for Lear’s demotion from king, the fall of his kingdom and the reason for his madness. However others see it is a feminist text which recounts the insecurity of men and their dependence on the female characters. Overall within this play, women are shown to play both the good and the bad at different scales and scenes. The most obvious, demonically portrayed female characters are Regan and Goneril, arguably the main reasons for Lear’s down fall from a prestigious king to a madman. They both display the Machiavellian trait of whoever holds the power holds the right to control and both the sisters exert this fairly ruthlessly.
This conflict within Hamlet is further expounded by the possibility that his father was murdered by his uncle, King Cladius. In an attempt to cope with the moral weakness of his mother, Prince Hamlet dispels any sympathetic feelings toward women causing him to ruin his relationship with Ophelia and leaving him lonely. In order to accurately interpret Shakespeare’s usage of a female’s role throughout his play it is imperative to consider the greater source of his ideas-his historical background. The historical period of the Elizabethan era influenced Shakespeare’s negative portrayal of women and thus, he uses the women in his play as tools in unraveling Prince Hamlet. In Hamlet, it can be noted that the patriarchal setup of society mirrors that of England during the Elizabethan era.
Lady Macbeth was one Shakespeare’s most courageous female characters. She convinced her husband to cruelly kill Duncan and urged him to be strong in the murder’s aftermath. Fortunately she was eventually scarred by the effect of Macbeth’s animosity towards her. In each case, ambition—helped, of course, by the hurtful predictions of the witches that’s what drove the couple to extreme insanity. The problem, the play suggests, is that once someone decides to use violence to further their quest for power, it is difficult to stop them.
However, because Lady Macbeth has ambition beyond her status, she wants him to become King as soon as possible. The only problem for Lady Macbeth is she feels Macbeth is too nice to kill Duncan. She says “it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”, which shows Lady Macbeth thinks of her husband as a coward. The soliloquy used by Shakespeare truly shows the disturbed mind of Lady Macbeth; creating an unsettling affect on the audience through his representation of her as a scheming and dangerous character. The use of imagery reveals that witchcraft was a fascination of Elizabethan England.
But, she is afraid of his personality ‘too full o’th milk of human kindness’ and decides to take matters into her own hands. This is also the scene where we hear her first famous soliloquy which is ‘unsex me here’ when she calls on the evil spirits. Really, she wants to be the same as the three witches, but because of who she is, she has to repress all her inner feelings and her conscience in order to carry on with her plan to murder Duncan. She has to be two-faced. When Macbeth returns later in the scene, she immediately pounces onto him and tries to persuade him to murder the King and she says it in a very manipulative way.
“Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out”. This takes her femininity away and portrays her as a cold-hearted character who is not only willing to commit murder, but also able to persuade her husband into going against what he believes in. As well as this, the violent imagery in this quote is very shocking and gives a gothic element to Act One Scene Seven. It also shows us how quickly Lady Macbeth
To a great extent, modern audiences would find the portrayal objectification of women very much ominous, especially in the case of Hero. Shakespeare’s depiction of the interactions between Claudio, her future husband and Leonato, her father prior to Hero’s public shaming conveys this. In act two scene one Leonato says to Claudio ‘take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes’ (2/1/280). Here the two men are discussing the giving of Hero as if she were an object to be traded and that his adult daughter is in no position to decide who she marries. Shakespeare presents the stranglehold that men have over women and furthers the notion that men view women as items to be controlled in Messina culture.
Though he may have always had the final say when it came to the numerous killings, his wife uses her power to effortlessly persuade her weak husband to make him do whatever she wants him to. At first, her strength inspires him. But as the play goes on, he realizes she has turned him into a power hungry monster who continues in the bloody path she set him on. The self-destruction of the two all began with the witches’ prophecies saying that Macbeth would become the Thane of Glamis, the Thane of Cawdor, and ultimately become king. Macbeth is not naturally inclined to perform malicious deeds, but he deeply desires power.
How does Shakespeare present the flaws in Macbeth and in The Laboratory and The Last Duchess? Shakespeare shows in Macbeth how the character of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth has big ambitions to complete and they take on pride. Likewise in the Labotory, the speaker who is the women takes on the leadership in this theme as the flaws within her character is similar to Lady Macbeth. Browning presents the duke in my last duchess to be manipulative as you are trying to figure out if he was the one to kill his wife or not. The structure of Macbeth is a dramatic monologue as well as The Laboratory and The Last Duchess.