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Gender Roles in Macbeth

            Throughout history, there has been strict gender roles set in place for people to follow. During Shakespearean times, women were considered the weaker sex, emotionally and physically. Women were expected to always listen and obey their husbands and never make the rules. Men on the other hand, were expected to be the head of their households, strong, and wise. Shakespeare broke new ground in the late 1500s by playing with the unheard idea of the reversal of gender roles. The relationship between the Macbeth's is interesting because they both do not represent the stereotypical men and women of their time. In public they assume given gender roles, yet when in each other's company, the roles are reversed. In Macbeth, the author, William Shakespeare, uses the reversal of gender roles to show the demise of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
             In the play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth portrays many traits that would not be considered feminine at the time such as being dominant and ambitious. Lady Macbeth assumes the dominant part in her marriage. While Lady Macbeth believes her husband is ambitious, "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised"(I, V, 2-3), she also believes he is too kind to carry out the murder of Duncan so Macbeth himself can be King. Lady Macbeth states, "I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it" (I, V, 3-7) fearing Macbeth will not take the nearest chance to commit the murder in order to take the throne.
             Lady Macbeth shows ambition through her words, which display that she is concerned with immediate power and will be relentless until her goal is achieved. Lady Macbeth knows that she has an influence over her husband, so in order for them to gain power, she plans to, "chastise" him, "with the valor of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crowned withal"(I, V, 16-20) so eventually he will take action like she believes fate and the witches want him to.

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