Role of Women in Macbeth

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Muhammed Ali Jinnah states, “There are two powers in the world: one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.” In the play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, women are portrayed to be evil, greedy and manipulative, which breaks away from the stereotype that men are generally the sinister ones. With this, the women in Macbeth are not powerful in themselves; they only have the power that Macbeth believes they have. Thus, they take advantage of the power he gave them. This ultimately leads Macbeth to the deterioration of his pride as a man, influences his decision to murder, and his downfall as a leader. In Macbeth, the three witches are shown to harm Macbeth’s pride. They claim to know Banquo and Macbeth’s fates, for they predict: “Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none: So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!” (1.3.68) Pfersch 2 Yet they show no proof that their information is correct. The witches’ actions and words are empty claims with no proof. They had no power other than the superstitious force Macbeth gave their words, and this affects Macbeth’s pride considering that he planned his life’s path in accordance to the witches’ unproven prophecies. Furthermore, their appearance was plausible enough to startle Macbeth and then told him what he most wanted to hear. Due to the witches’ otherworldly appearances, Macbeth and Banquo add superfluous weight to witches’ words, and then solidify their claims with their fear and wonder for the witches’ veneers, as Banquo says, “Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction Of noble having and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal: to me you

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