Shakespeare explores in Macbeth a gender roles’ issue. The protagonists, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, are described in contraposition with the natural order because their behaviour is not according to the Elizabethan thinking and consequently they exchange attributes of each other. The subjects treated in Macbeth are power, ambition and tyranny among others. These topics become central when analysing Macbeth’s characteristics and deeds. However, this play equally focuses on his wife and her contributions for the developing of actions. What is more, taking into account the complexity of the play, it is possible to make a deeper analysis and consider the richness of the main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, whose features and attitudes deserve to be critically analysed. Thus, it is possible to find a man carrying feminine traits and a woman taking a more masculine role. Then, these gender roles revert in the second half of the play, showing the male and female figures as they are naturally assumed.
Some critics refer to the main characters’ gender roles and analyse the way in which both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth interact in the play. Dolora G. Cunningham (1966:70) claims that this tragedy presents us the main characters’ gender as if they complement each other. She mentions that the defeat of human feeling is an important element in the tragic decisions taken by Macbeth to accomplish his next evil actions. Before the killing, kingship cannot be obtained because he is not able to create his non-human feeling. It is Lady Macbeth who supplies the power to complete the act which makes ruin inevitable. Furthermore, William Hazlitt (1966:103) compares the main characters’ actions in the first part of the play. While Macbeth gives his speeches and soliloquies showing his energy, agitation and desperation, Lady Macbeth’s masculine firmness seizes the opportunity to reach greatness because she is formed by the hardness