This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Macbeth: Manhood Essay

1023 words - 5 pages

In our minds, we all have vague conceptions of what manhood is. But, aside from scientific specifics, how would we judge manhood? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary merely says that manhood is “the condition of being a human being; or qualities associated with men.” Clearly, the ideas of what really constitutes manhood are vague at best. This issue undoubtedly interested William Shakespeare, and he deliberated this in several of his works, including Julius Caesar. In the tragedy Macbeth, Shakespeare uses varying definitions of manhood presented by different characters in order to debate the meaning of manhood and present his idea of true manhood.
Through the entirety of the play, Lady ...view middle of the document...

This quality, along with cruelty, and the lack of remorse and pity, is attributed to Lady Macbeth’s character, and is the dominant attitude toward manhood during the progression of the play.
Fitting with the unnatural and cruel events that plague the beginning of the play, no alternate depictions of manhood are given until the fourth act, when Malcolm and Macduff introduce a far deeper definition than that of Lady Macbeth’s. When Macduff receives word that his entire family has been savagely killed by Macbeth, he wildly expresses his grief, to which Malcolm says “Dispute it like a man” (4.3.259). Macduff, however, says “I shall do so, / But I must also feel it as a man” (4.3.260-261). For the first time in the play, genuine emotions are suggested to be a crucial part of being a man. Whereas Malcolm tells Macduff to immediately seek revenge against Macbeth for his slaughtered family, Macduff tells him that it is just as important for a man to have and express emotions as it is for a man to take decisive actions. As Malcolm continues to urge for Macduff to “Let grief / Convert to anger. [and] Blunt not the heart; enrage it” (4.3.268-269), Macduff responds, “O, I could play the woman with mine eyes / And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens, / Cut short this intermission! Front to front / Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself. / Within my sword’s length set him. If he ‘scape, / Heaven forbid him too” (4.3.270-275). Macduff is pointing out that he could easily hide his feelings, but that would not make him any more of a man – a true man must have feelings too. Nevertheless, he seeks to avenge his family and slay the fiend, Macbeth, to which Malcolm remarks “This tune goes manly” (4.3.276), indicating his approval of Macduff’s decision. By describing this exchange of comments between Malcolm and Macduff, Shakespeare introduces a new definition of manhood, one that not only comprises of the extreme and...

Other Papers Like Macbeth: Manhood

Macbeth Essay

633 words - 3 pages be manipulated by others as Lady Macbeth says, “…when you durst do it, then u were a man…” (Act 1, scene 7, 54). Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth’s manhood in order to manipulate Macbeth into going through with the murder of Duncan. As seen later on in the play, Macbeth does indeed go through with the murder of Duncan, thus, being manipulated by his wife. On the contrary, Banquo, an honest, loyal and logical man cannot be so easily manipulated by

The Tragic Hero, Macbeth Essay

1295 words - 6 pages manhood, Macbeth challenges the ghost to a battle as if he were still a noble warrior. After the banquet, Macbeth decides he must kill Macduff, a nobleman, too wash away his fear of Banquo. Without thought of consequence, Macbeth kills Macduff's family in punishment for Macduff's refusal to return at the king's summons. In his rashness, Macbeth seeks the three witches and sees three visions that tell him he would not be murdered by any man or

Macbeth Character Analysis

1659 words - 7 pages wavers in his decision. But Lady Macbeth is sure that being king is what Macbeth really wants and that this is the best for both of them. So, in response to Macbeth's uncertainty, Lady Macbeth manipulates him by questioning his manhood and his love for her. She is successful because regardless of his own conscience Macbeth carries out their plan of murder. The almost superhuman strength Lady Macbeth rallies for the occasion and her artful and sly

Morality in Macbeth

557 words - 3 pages questioned his manhood, he decided to be a man. However we then see that after Duncan’s murder the guilt kills his sleep and thus he realized in doing wrong. But throughout the play, Macbeth is deceived more and more with power and doesn’t care anymore about morality and religion as he then starts killing everyone who gets in his way. With regards to the theme of power in Macbeth, one can encounter many people who have power. The more the power one

The Ideals of Manliness in Shakespeare's Macbeth

1268 words - 6 pages emotionless animals. This opposite perspective can also be found in Macbeth. It is not the gender difference that matters; it is the uniqueness of the man as a human being. Strength is not measured by the seriousness of the actions one takes, but by the reasoning behind them. It is in Act I that we realize the fixed point of view of Lady Macbeth about manhood. When she hears of the prophecy of the witches, she instantly knows that it is time

Tragic Fall in Macbeth

1184 words - 5 pages thou art in desire ?” (1.7.42-44) she questioned his manhood and desire then said she can even kill her own baby then why is he hesitating. This led to his downfall because she finally convinced him to kill king. He started to step into the downfall. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth helped Macbeth cover up twice, she said:”give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead/are but as pictures” (2.2.69-70). Also when Macbeth was crazy on the feast, she helped

Lady Macbeth

2312 words - 10 pages murdering Duncan (fair play, divine rights of kings and all), and Lady Macbeth comes along and pretty much tells him how ridiculous he's being. She opens with a rhetorical question that is condescending in nature: "Was the hope drunk / Wherein you dressed yourself?" This demeaning attitude is really not what was expected of women at the time - and if that's not bad enough, she openly challenges his manhood: "When you durst do it, then you were a

Lady Macbeth and the Three Witches: Dark, Similar, Dominant and Influencing

1650 words - 7 pages dispatch” (I. 5. 65-6), “Leave all the rest to me” (I. 5. 71). While normally it is the husband who orders the wife, Lady Macbeth dictates to her husband. When Macbeth is hesitant to go through with their plan Lady Macbeth not only viciously insults him, declaring that he will “live a coward in thine own esteem”(I. 7. 43), but also questions his manhood saying “when you durst to it, then you were a man” (I. 7. 49) Her domination over

Macbeth Character Analysis

1316 words - 6 pages supposedly male ambitions. Women, the play implies, can be as ambitious and cruel as men, yet social constraints deny them the means to pursue these ambitions on their own. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections; when he hesitates to murder, she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself. Lady Macbeth’s remarkable strength of will persists

Macbeth Paper

1851 words - 8 pages it meant turning him into her puppet. While Macbeth was understandably apprehensive about performing such a treacherous act on his benevolent king, Lady Macbeth was devising a way to manipulate him into doing it by questioning his manhood. “...When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.” This quote was spoken by Lady Macbeth in reference to Macbeth being afraid to kill King

Macbeth: Ambition, Manipulation, And A Tragic Breakdown

857 words - 4 pages to feel hesitant with the plan. Lady Macbeth would not hear of this and started to mock him. She questioned his manhood, which is a manipulative but definite way to get any man to submit to a woman’s request. Of course, this sly method of persuasion snapped Macbeth out of his hesitation, and he went on to do the evil deed. When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man. Nor

Related Essays

Romeo And Juliet Essay

1043 words - 5 pages is worth waiting a longer period of time before he can be King. But the tactic that she uses that she knows will work is insulting him and insulting his manhood to peer pressure him to do it and to prove how manly he is. Lady Macbeth insults Macbeth by using words such as “coward” and she says “then you were a man!” She is saying that when you agreed to do it you were a real man. She also declares that she would rather kill her own baby than

Macbeth Essay

516 words - 3 pages both of them. Macbeth agrees with her at first – but later on he doubts her decision. She responds to his reaction by manipulating him by questioning his manhood and love for her. She is successful in her mission, and her plan about killing Duncan is completed. Macbeth returns to their chamber after the killing scene, Lady Macbeth cleverly goes back and deletes any trace that could indicate that Macbeth was the killer. Instead, she smears the

The Truth Behind The Evil In Macbeth

584 words - 3 pages blood. / Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse, / That no compunctious visitings of nature / Shake my fell purpose!” (1.5, 46-48). Lady Macbeth is the one that convinces Macbeth to kill King Duncan, Macbeth thinks about killing Duncan, but he would never carry out with the deed, however his wife questions his manhood and encourages him to do it. Lady Macbeth questions his manhood when she says “What beast was ‘t then, / That made you break

Describe An Important Change In The Macbeth. Explain How This Change Helped You Understand An Idea(S) In The Text

763 words - 4 pages killing Duncan at first. His wife saw this and questioned his manhood. She knew the only reason stopping Macbeth was “if we should fail?”Macbeth was a weak character. He did not have the courage to contuine without his wife. But in this the reader saw how Macbeth’s real ambition was released from the cage from whence it was it. It was a fight for Macbeth to keep his dark ambition from getting out but once it was tempted with kingship