Shakespeare reflects the beliefs of his age. People believed in a natural hierarchy in the 17th century often called the ‘great chain of being’. This says that God is at the top, angels beneath God, beneath angels there are humans, men above women. There was a similar hierarchy for society. This stated that the King would rule the country, men would rule women et cetera. It was seen to be sinful and unnatural for a woman to rule a man. In the play Lady Macbeth turns the order of the hierarchy as she seems to be the one ruling over Macbeth. It is not just Lady Macbeth who doesn’t fit into the hierarchy, the witches also do not fit into it because they can neither be classified as men or women because they have female characteristics but also have beards. Lady Macbeth is seen as a ‘fiend-like Queen’ because she plans the death of Duncan. In the 17th century it was ultimate evil to kill a king because people believed the king was chosen by God. When Lady Macbeth reads the letter by Macbeth she instantly decides that she will make Macbeth kill the king in order for the prophecy to come true. “That I may pour my spirits in thine ear”, Lady Macbeth says that she will try to influence Macbeth with evil thoughts, example given, death of Duncan so that he can become king because she knows that Macbeth will not do it without being influenced because of his nature. Throughout the play Lady Macbeth is in control and tells Macbeth what to do. She manipulates Macbeth and questions him about his manhood when he decides it isn’t right to do something. Macbeth: If we should fail?
Lady Macbeth: We fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.
She manipulates Macbeth into going through and murdering Duncan even though he had second thoughts. She knows that Macbeth’s manhood is central to his sense of his own identity so she questions it...