Aman Gupta- A
Honors LA 5/6
November 16, 2018
Shakespeare’s Illustration of Gender Reversal during his Time Period
In the Medieval European society, women were perceived as the primary caretaker of their home. Women were expected to oversee organization of social events, maintaining the family’s reputation, cooking, cleaning etc. and were occasionally assisted by their children. They were typically valued lower than their male counterparts and were not given similar opportunities to have a role in politics, religion and society. In the tragedy Macbeth, Shakespeare explores and challenges his era’s recent abolishment of gender inequalities in the society, foreshadowing risks associated with it. Shakespeare eagerly tries to convince his societal view of gender roles, where women must always require the assistance of their husband. In the Play?Macbeth, Shakespeare integrates foil between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, creating a reversal in the gender roles, illustrating, how women will always?depend on their husband for protection or live in disgraced fear.??
In Macbeth, Shakespeare emphasizes specifically on situational irony and/or allusion to demonstrate the typical gender roles during his time period. ??
?”Come?you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,?and?fill me, from crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! ?…/ Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall” (1.5, 46-51)? ?”Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall”, here Shakespeare uses allusion ?Here?lady Macbeth basically shows how she wants to get rid of her womanly habits and saddest oppression rather she wants to get manly abilities and responsibilities such as war. Basically, she is saying her womanly abilities and weakening her real abilities. Contradicting the society’s norms followed during his time period. “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be?What thou art?promis’d. Yet do I fear thy nature,?It is too full o’?th’ milk of human kindness?To catch the nearest way” (1.5, 15-18). “What thou art?promis’d. Yet do I fear thy nature” here situational irony is being used by lady Macbeth.?Basically, Lady Macbeth is saying that she will kill the king so that Macbeth can become the king, but she doesn’t know that Macbeth has already planned about that. “Are you even a man” (3.4, 61), ambiguity is being used in this small quote by Lady Macbeth.
After Macbeth saw the ghost of Banquo, Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to act as a man and not like her, meaning to act stronger and stoic. 1) Evidence: -?”Bring forth men-children only,?For thy undaunted mettle should compose?Nothing but males.” (1.7.83-85)?
?Here Macbeth is appreciating her wife and saying that how she will only produce kids who are man and that’s why she can be manly too. “I shall also do so, but I must also feel it as a man.” (4.3.226-228)?Technique: -?Here Dramatic Irony is being used.?Basically Macduff confesses his mistake about “O gentle lady, ‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak: The repetition, in a woman’s ear, would murder as it fell” (2.3.58-61) Technique: -?The reputation is basically saying the Irony. Here Macduff says to Lady Macbeth to not listen to his news as it’s not something which woman’s will be able to tolerate. Basically, showing that women were considered fragile.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s demise was due to their non- conformity: therefore, if one were to do as Lady Macbeth and Macbeth did, they would suffer the same consequences. Either way, an underlying theme in the play, if not the most prominent, is that chaos will ensue if the most intrinsic system of humanity is upset, thus, making Macbeth a cautionary tale for all women who dare challenge the system in an attempt to gain rights. However, some are oblivious to the blatant sexism and believe that any implication of this is simply being misinterpreted.