Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Changing Gender Roles in William Shakespeares Macbeth Essay -- Macbet

Changing Gender Roles in William Shakespeare's Macbeth  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚   Much attention has been paid to the theme of "manliness" as it appears throughout Macbeth. In his introduction to Macbeth in The Riverside Shakespeare, Frank Kermode contends that the play is "about the eclipse of civility and manhood, [and] the temporary triumph of evil" (1307). Stephen Greenblatt emphasizes the same idea in The Norton Shakespeare, crediting Lady Macbeth for encouraging her husband through both "sexual taunting" and "the terrible force of her determination" (2557-58). Macbeth responds to his wife with "a clear sense of the proper boundaries of his identity as a male and as a human being, [telling her] 'I dare do all that may become a man;/Who dares do more is none' (I.7.46-47)" (2558). Both Kermode's and Greenblatt's notions focus upon how Macbeth's masculinity is recognized and defined -- by Macbeth himself as well as by the potentially influential people who surround him. The critics who introduce the play in these major anthologies perceive the same weakness in Macbeth's character as the apparently evil forces who play upon it do: Macbeth's masculinity becomes the psychological vehicle through which he becomes incensed, inspired, and finally incited to action. If Macbeth's "manliness" is to be questioned, it is not likely to occur within the male-dominated world of battlefields and military victories which Shakespeare introduces in Act I, Scene 2. In this passage, the bleeding Captain praises Macbeth's heroism, contending . . . brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name!-- Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour's minion Carved out his passage till he faced the slave, Which ne... ... Universities Modern Language Association 70 (Nov. 1988): 366-85. Dolan, Frances. The Taming of the Shrew: Texts and Contexts. Boston: Bedford, 1996. Greenblatt, Stephen. "Introduction to Macbeth." The Norton Shakespeare. New York: Norton, 1997. 2555-63. Hawkins, Michael. "History, politics, and Macbeth." Focus on Macbeth. Ed. John Russell Brown. London: Routledge, 1982. 155-88. Kermode, Frank. "Introduction to Macbeth." The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: Houghton, 1974. 1307-11. Stallybrass, Peter. "Macbeth and Witchcraft." Focus on Macbeth. Ed. John Russell Brown. London: Routledge, 1982. 189-209. Williamson, Marily L. "Violence and Gender Ideology." Shakespeare Left and Right. Ed. Ivo Kamps et al. New York: Routledge, 1991. 157-66. Winstanley, Lilian. Macbeth, King Lear, and Contemporary History. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922.

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