Macbeth vs. Masculinity
To this day, William Shakespeare preserves the reputation of a poetic genius. His work leaves room for everlasting imagination and interpretation, making him widely recognized as the greatest English writer. Shakespeare’s novel, “Macbeth,” incorporates many themes that not only help us explore past customs, but allows readers to relate to our present modern thinking, and its evolution over time. A theme I found to be intriguing is the importance of masculinity and how it correlates directly with power and cruelty. Throughout the novel, the characters make numerous references to masculinity, emphasizing its value and standards during these times. Shakespeare’s references educate readers about the mentality of people during the 1600’s and the traits in which defined a man. The role of a man included: dominance, ambition, and the ability to bare brutality with ease. Shakespeare introduces the play by relating the male species to dark desires and evil.
Three witches who were frequently referred to as ‘the weird sisters’ are the first to make an appearance and express this theme. A nobleman, Banquo, questions their femininity when he states “You Should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.” (Macbeth1.1.46-48). Women do not identify with beards, which is why Shakespeare made it a point to create such a strange image. Beards are a manly feature which suits the witches perfectly as they behave in a manner that is completely un-lady like. The beards represent their unnatural vulgar quality of life, and how they manage evil activities for their own satisfaction. Women are not able to conduct themselves in that demeanor because they have innate inclinations to become nurturing mothers. Such evil is despised by women, yet in the rare cases that one imposes harm on others, it is generally executed with a guilty conscience. In contrast,...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Signet Classic, 1998. Print.
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