Masculinity And Femininity In Macbeth

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A closer look at each Act As you examine each Act identify the ten most important events in each. This will help to increase your understanding of how the themes are developed throughout the play. Act I The main events in Act I are: 1. The witches’ plan to meet Macbeth. 2. Macbeth is introduced as a hero who will become Thane of Cawdor as a reward for his loyalty. 3. The witches prophesise that Macbeth will be king and Banquo will be the father of a line of kings. 4. Duncan orders the execution of the treacherous Thane of Cawdor. He rewards Macbeth but announces that Malcolm will become heir to the crown. 5. Lady Macbeth learns of the witches’ prophesies through the letter Macbeth has written her. 6. Macbeth arrives…show more content…
Earlier in the play Lady Macbeth defines masculinity as the ability to ruthlessly achieve a desired goal. In Act I Scene 2, Duncan applauds Macbeth’s ruthless killing of “the merciless Macdonald” who Macbeth “unseamed” from “the nave to th’ chaps.” Duncan exclaims, “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.” 10. Identify as many versions of masculinity and femininity as you can as you read the play. The idea of what it means to be a real man is a question that can be looked at from several different viewpoints. Try comparing the views of several different characters with each other. Then consider the way that the idea of what it means to be a man means to each of them. Consider how these ideas about masculinity move the action of the play forward. For example, Duncan rewards masculine valour with titles, this brings him closer to his own demise. Macbeth kills in order to gain power and honour from the king and his fellow thanes. He then kills the king to prove he is a man of destiny. Macduff defends his masculinity by killing Macbeth out of revenge for the killing of his wife and…show more content…
The idea of being unable to cleanse the mind and the spirit is closely tied to the play’s themes of order and disorder and light and dark. The killing of Duncan has upset the spiritual order of the world and the ability to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. This confusion is mirrored in the character of Macbeth who, quite literally, has replaced order with disorder on every level, including the spiritual order. This mirroring reinforces the themes of appearances not being what they seem, but also foreshadows the madness and suicide of Lady Macbeth, which is bound to flow from such an unnatural state of affairs. Consider Lady Macbeth’s pathos, reflected in her sleep-walking speeches, “out, damned spot”. Here, ‘damnation’ accompanies the stain that corrupts the spiritual order of the world. Macbeth’s realisation that,“ all great Neptune’s oceans” cannot wash the blood from his hands mirrors Lady Macbeth’s words, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” Both characters are damned, reinforcing the idea that they have brought hell to earth with their deeds. 20. The identity of the third murderer is a question that is also worth considering in Act III. Some critics have suggested that it is Macbeth himself. What are the implications regarding the events that follow if this is

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