Feminism is the Source of Tragedy in Macbeth
Behind every successful man there is a ruthless woman pushing him along to gain her own personal successes. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth causes Macbeths downfall. With the faults and lies of Lady Macbeth, marriage is Macbeth’s big mistake. Lady Macbeth turns his courageous conquests on the fields of war into butchery. Mangled by the blood-spotted hands of his wife he becomes a traitor to himself, the people around him, and even her. In the beginning they both desire power and Lady Macbeths starts to put evil thoughts in her husband’s head. Eventually Macbeth turns into a guiltless monster, which ironically causes Lady Macbeth’s downfall. Lady Macbeth’s life centers completely on her husband and there is a strong bond between the two (Thomson). Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had a huge impact on their tragedies. They negatively thrive off each other’s actions and decisions. Ambition is an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment. Most of us would view ambition as a good quality to have. The problem is Macbeth is too ambitious, which causes him to do immoral things to get where he desires (Johnston). There is a big difference between ambition and greed. Macbeth is power hungry and he wants to be on top. Lady Macbeth wants the same for her husband, maybe even just a little bit more: A clearly intelligent and ambitious woman, Lady Macbeth’s role is completely determined by her husband’s. Without even a name of her own, the only way she can achieve power is if her husband attains it. Only with Macbeth as king can Lady Macbeth be queen (Ancona).
In the beginning Duncan rules the throne. But Macbeth is highly esteemed for his heroic and honorable service to the state. He was described by his fellow noblemen as a loyal soldier, giving all he has for his country (Hawkes). Duncan respects him for being such a good general: His conduct in war is spectacular. He is “brave Macbeth. He is impervious to fear when merely natural foes confront him. He is the soldier who will fight till from my bones my flesh will be hacked. Such a soldier command respect. There is nothing puny about him. (Bernad) After the witches prophesy that Macbeth will be made thane of Cawdor and eventually king of Scotland, Macbeths begins to have some thoughts of murdering Duncan, but nothing serious. “Macbeth’s marriage is “fiendlike” of his queen. (Ancona).” Lady Macbeth starts to become very manipulative.
Lady Macbeth gives up her female status and position, in order to prepare her husband to take over the thrown. She even wishes she were a man, this way she could just do it herself. She views him as a man who is afraid of going for what he wants. Lady Macbeth is a control freak. She becomes more dominant and assertive than her husband “Macbeth has too much of ordinary human nature in him to resort to crime without external stimulus, however Lady Macbeth teaches him how to hold back his natural self (Siegel).”
Lady Macbeth is completely out of her mind. At this point she will do anything to be queen. She says, “ I have given suck, and know/How tender tis’ to love the babe that milks me/ I would, while I was smiling in my face,/ Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,/ And dashed the brains out.” Here, Lady Macbeth is saying she would think nothing of bashing the brains out of her child if this is what it would take to get her crown of queen.
Although Macbeth listens to the witches prophesy his biggest influence is Lady Macbeth. They love each other dearly. When you are in love you do not believe your significant other would make you do something that would be harmful to you. While reading Macbeth you can automatically assume Lady Macbeth has many psychological problems in her head. Macbeth does not take note of how insane his wife is. Lady Macbeth does not have an inch of guilt inside of...
Cited: Ancona, Francesco Aristide, and Mary Ives Thompson. "He says/she says: Shakespeare 's Macbeth (a gender/personality study)." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 27.3-4 (2005): 59+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 30 April 2010.
Bernad, Miguel A. "The Five Tragedies in Macbeth." Shakespeare Quarterly 13.1 (Winter 1962): 49-61. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michael L. LaBlanc. Vol. 80. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 May 2010.
Hawkes, Terence. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Macbeth. NJ. Prentice-Hall Inc. 1977.
Johnston, Ian. "Introduction to Macbeth." English 366: Studies in Shakespeare. July 1999. Malaspina-University College. 27 April. 2010 .
Siegel, Paul. Shakespearean Tragedy and the Elizabethan Compromise. NY: New York University Press, Inc.1957.
Thomson, Karin. "7 Essays of classic Macbeth criticism." The Land of Macbeth. Shakespeare Institute. 1 May. 2010 .
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