There are very few female characters within classical English literature who are in control of their own lives. Authors, such as the much esteemed Shakespeare portray the majority of women as stereotyped within traditional European society, a society in which women are deemed unfit and unequal in comparison to the men they willingly and mindlessly serve. Shakespeare strengthens this stereotype with characters such as Juliet from Romeo and Juliet, portraying women who are unable to put aside the feelings within their hearts in order to use their God-given common sense. From what is shown within the world of Shakespeare, women are not capable of rational thought; they are rare birds in gilded cages, completely and utterly reliant on the men who have been so gracious as to shelter and care for them. These doe-eyed, fragile women are puppets in a web woven by the dominant male characters within each of Shakespeare's plays. .
However, there are a few women who are able to use their minds to overrule their hearts; they are women who can control their surroundings and the people inhabiting them. Those few who can defend themselves, either physically or emotionally, are seen as treacherous temptresses spawned from the womb of the Devil itself. These women are condemned, shunned, and insulted, seen as unholy models for corruption and greed. However, these women, as hated and immoral as they are, do exist within Shakespeare's plays. They are shown as powerful, evil and ultimately independent beings such as with the character of Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth, a prime example of a powerful, independent female faces rejection within her respective society. This potential rejection forces her to mask her cravings for power behind a facade of courteous normalcy within the court, while she plots her own rise to power through her manipulable husband. In Macbeth, she invokes the aid of spirits (who are assumed to be the three witches), asking for strength in order to continue her defiance against the expectations of her gender, and in turn to have the resolve to execute her plans to murder King Duncan.