Macbeth Research Paper

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Patrick Grosso
English 3 Honors
Mr. Furlong
3/8/13

Image of Manliness and Equivocation in Macbeth
In this play written by William Shakespeare there are many instances of manliness that come up. During that time the biggest things to men are how strong, courageous, and brace they are. However, it is not always a good thing to embody these characteristics if wrong decisions are made. These characteristics confused Macbeth deeply and many times in the play made him choose to do the wrong thing Equivocation, the idea of using ambiguous language is something that also confused Macbeth and made him clueless on what he had to do. Macbeth is a character that struggled with the idea of ambition and what a person can do to achieve success. Macbeth did not have any limits when it came to achieving success and when he did he was looked upon as a womanly figure. By viewing the idea of equivocation and the image of manliness in this play, it displays Macbeth’s morals and how lowered morals and lead to demise. Equivocation and the image of manliness that lead to Macbeth’s demise are seen through the challenging of Lady Macbeth, Macbeths senseless ambitious decisions, the three witches and also the righteous Macduff. All of these things are people or ideas that have to do with the image of manliness or equivocation that bring Macbeth to his demise.

Lady Macbeth continuously challenges Macbeth on his manhood and decisions. Many of the evil things Macbeth does during the play, Lady Macbeth challenges his manliness on. Also whenever he wants to back out of something she uses the idea of manhood to convince him. She makes him colder and more confident or cocky throughout the entire play. In the beginning Macbeth blatantly wants to keep good morals and make good decisions but the constant annoyance of his wife calling him a coward changes that. For example right from the start Macbeth did not want to go through with killing the king. He tried to explain to his wife that a real man is loyal and honorable. He says a real man would not do something like that. She responds: "When you durst do it, then you were a man" (Shakespeare 1.7.49). This quotation shows Lady Macbeth trying to say Macbeth is not a man. She makes him feel like he is not close to being a man. This challenging of the manhood really hurts Macbeth and makes him choose the wrong thing that leads to the fall of a tragic hero. Macbeth does not want to be seen as less of a man to his wife and so he decides to do the morally wrong thing and kill the king. This image of manliness leads to the demise of Macbeth. This idea of becoming the courageous male torments the mind of Macbeth. It is something that eats at him and persuades him to make the decisions he does. Matthew Proser states “Eugene M. Waith believes that Mabeth’s ‘mental torment grows out of the conflict between the narrow concept of man as the courageous male and the more inclusive concept of a man as a being whose moral nature distinguishes him from the beasts’” (Proser 57). This quotation proves that the idea of being a man tormented Macbeth. It made him do some of the things he did not want too. Instead of being the morally sound male he wants to be the courageous heroic male. The person who makes him choose that path is Lady Macbeth who is always challenging his manly image throughout the first half of the play.

That is not the only time Lady Macbeth questioned the manhood of her husband. Another time she did this was when she explained to a nervous Macbeth that backing down on a commitment is one of the most cowardice things a man could do. Here Lady Macbeth is calling Macbeth a beast one of the lowest things possible for wanting to take back his word: “What beast was't, then, That made you break this enterprise to me” (Shakespeare 1.7.48)? This quotation one again provides evidence of Lady Macbeth challenging Macbeth’s manhood which leads to him making the wrong decision. Each time he wants to do...
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