The Role of Women in Macbeth

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5. What role do women play in Macbeth? Are they responsible for Macbeth’s demise? In the play Macbeth, the women in Macbeth’s life play an important role in is demise. In Act I, Scene III, when Macbeth first comes upon the three witches, he is told of his future to become Thane of Cawdor, then King, upon which mention, Macbeth begins to plot of how he is to become King. ‘My thought, whose murder is yet but fantastical’ ‘My mind, which merely contains the thought of murder’ (plain English) In this instance, the only way in which he can see himself becoming King, is through the murder of the current king, hence the beginning of his downfall. Banquo does warn Macbeth of the tricks of the witches; leading men to their own downfall as they try so very hard to make true what has been prophesized. However Macbeth takes no heed of this warning and proceeds to fall victim to the witches’ tricks. If any woman is to be held responsible for Macbeth’s demise, let it be Lady Macbeth, for rather than warning Macbeth against the witches’ prophecies, she decides to encourage her husband to kill the King. Lady Macbeth is obviously the dominant partner of the two when that role should naturally fall to the male partner. She is the mastermind behind all of Macbeth’s evil deeds. Lady Macbeth has such greed and desire to be Queen of Scotland, that she will do practically anything to seize the throne. She immediately forces Macbeth to act on the witches prophecies and murder Duncan in his sleep. Later, when Macbeth becomes uncertain about committing the crime, it is his wife who goads and belittles him guilting him into doing something he does not necessarily want to do. When Macbeth returns with the bloody dagger after killing the King, Lady Macbeth gets angry and calls him a coward, questioning his manhood, again manipulating her husband to get what she wants – the

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