Gender in Macbeth

  • Created by: hamps_leo
  • Created on: 03-03-20 20:13

Gender - Lady Macbeth

She wishes to be "unsexed" so that she could murder Duncan without the support of a man (Macbeth) because it was considered exclusively masculine to be violent and cruel. She also displays nurturing and sentimentality (exclusively female traits) being unable to kill Duncan as he resembles her father: "Had he not resembled my father as he slept I had done't"

1 of 4

Gender - Macbeth

He is manipulated by Lady Macbeth into killing Duncan as she says "He will not be a man unless he does so." This shows that masculinity and violence are strongly related in the play, as they were during the time. This is also presented when Duncan sees him as a "worthy gentleman" because of his performance in battle, which tells us that military prowess was seen as a token of masculinity.

2 of 4

Gender - Witches

They are portrayed as grotesque female characters that conspire against men, however they are unable to directly intervene. They can only influence Macbeth with their prophecies and must rely on his own actions to initiate his downfall. This shows that women at the time were limited to verbal manipulation, as violence was an exclusively masculine trait.

3 of 4

Gender - Lady Macduff

She is the clearest display of Elizabethan femininity as she is loving to her son, and helpless without the support of her husband. Her death is used as a device to show Macbeth's full corruption as he is cruel enough to kill and innocent woman.

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Macbeth resources »