Women Take Charge: Lady Macbeth

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The Reversed Gender Roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Protagonists in Shakespeare’s Macbeth – Macbeth and Lady Macbeth break the traditional gender convention from characters and behaviors. Macbeth is more feminine both in characters and behaviors comparing to Lady Macbeth’s masculinity. Macbeth is fearful, indecisive, and easy to be flustered, but these characters are cognized to be more like females’. Besides, he has a strong ethics of justice and care which makes him become compassionate. However, Lady Macbeth is much stronger, and more decisive, ruthless as well as aggressive, especially when she is facing death. In behaviors, Macbeth acts so weak that he is subordinated to Lady Macbeth, which is totally conflicted to the social gender convention. Macbeth is so indecisive in decision-making that he vacillates between murdering the King Duncan or not, and eventually he still cannot make his own mind. Instead, Lady Macbeth is aggressive as well as consistent, and she helps her husband make decisions, and also comes up with a plot instantly. She only concentrates on personal benefits so that everything else can be sacrificed. In addition, Lady Macbeth acts more self-composed, confident, and governable in an unexpected condition. Both Macbeth’s feminine character and Lady Macbeth’s masculinity are shown in the vehement conversation between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as they are arguing whether to murder Duncan. As soon as Lady Macbeth receives Macbeth’s letter about Three Witches’ prophecy, she makes a determination of murdering the King, Duncan, and makes a perfect scheme. Opposite to Macbeth’s scariness and cowardliness, Lady Macbeth shows her aggressiveness, ruthlessness, and resolution, which actually are contrary to traditional gender convention. Lady Macbeth yells excitedly to Macbeth: Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor! Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!

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