How Does Lady Macbeth Incorporate the Role of Femme Fatale?

Topics: Gender, Masculinity, The Castle of Otranto Pages: 2 (493 words) Published: May 12, 2013
How does Lady Macbeth incorporate the role of a femme fatale? Gothic literature was introduced by Horace Walpole in 1764 with his novel The Castle of Otranto. This makes Macbeth retrospectively gothic as it was written in the 1600’s. It includes some of the main features of the gothic genre such as, murder, secrets, death and femme fatale. A femme fatale is a darker representation of women, often used in the gothic genre. It is someone who uses their femininity and sexuality to get what they want. Lady Macbeth incorporates this as she has a big influence over the events of the play and is the main initiator in the plot to kill the king as she manages to persuade Macbeth to kill him. She does so by playing on his insecurities as he admits he ‘will proceed no further in this business’, this infuriates her leading her to ask Macbeth, ‘was the hope drunk where in you dress’d yourself?’ Lady Macbeth incorporates the role of a femme fatale by using her intelligence to manipulate Macbeth into killing Duncan as she believes he is ‘too full o’ the milk of human kindness’ suggesting that he is too much like a woman and thus will not succeed in his deed of murdering the king. When Macbeth feels guilty about the plan to kill Duncan Lady Macbeth calls him a ‘coward’ for this. She also criticises him for questioning the plan and breaking promises as she says she would do something ‘had I so sworn as you have done to this’ making him feel further guilt for going back on a promise he made her. Further emphasis of this is evident when she explains to Macbeth she would rather have ‘das’d the brains out of (her) smiling’ child than go back on a promise she made him, thus portraying her as a loyal wife. However, it also portrays her as devious – a key characteristic of a femme fatale. Lady Macbeth uses her sexuality, another key characteristic of a femme fatale so that she appears more dominant. She does this by referring to motherhood saying that she has ‘given suck’ demonstrating...
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