Macbeth

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Macbeth’s Destructive Manhood

During the Elizabethan era, manhood was sought after and glorified by many. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the use of manhood as a motif is frequently used as the plot thickens and character traits begin to reveal themselves. Manhood is something that is very important to the tragic hero, Macbeth. In addition, when Lady Macbeth challenges his manhood, it contributes to Macbeth’s inner-self conflict within his mind. As a result of Lady Macbeth provoking Macbeth’s manhood, it begins to fuel Macbeth’s murderous and power hungry rage within his own mind as he seeks to destructively claim back his manhood.

The motif of manhood is used collectively throughout the play to advance the plot. Macbeth is notified that “Macbeth shalt be King hereafter!” (I,iii,51). As soon as Lady Macbeth perceives the witches prophecy, she calls out Macbeth’s manhood and immediately begins to challenge it. “When you durst do it, then you were a man/ And, to be more than what you were” (I,vii,49). Macbeth is humiliated by his wife’s accusation; therefore, he decides that he must prove his manhood to her by assassinating the King of Scotland, Duncan, fulfilling the prophecy which sees Macbeth as the new King of Scotland. In this very moment, while Macbeth concludes his last thoughts about murdering Duncan, is where Macbeth first displays his ability to reason with himself. This is also when Macbeth’s mind begins to rage within as he is confronted with a task at hand that will change the cosmos. Tyrant Macbeth affirms that manhood means a lot to him by putting aside his aptitude to reason with himself; however, this only directs him towards a life full of murder and chaos.

Macbeth reveals a lot about his character by the way he acknowledges Lady Macbeth’s attack on his manhood. Macbeth shows how amorous he is about his manhood, by choosing to kill Duncan; he shows that his passion for manhood is more conspicuous than his ability to reason with...
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