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Masculinity in "Macbeth"

Quote Analysis for Masculinity "Mabeth" by William Shakespeare.

Sofia Debbiche

on 25 October 2013

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Transcript of Masculinity in "Macbeth"

The Theme of Masculinity in "Macbeth" by William Shakepseare
Lady Macbeth Representing Masculinity
"Yet I do fear thy nature. It is too full of the milk of human kindness." Act I, Scene V
Lady Macbeth challenges Macbeth's masculinity multiple times.
She is saying he is not enough of a man.
Milk: symbol of nurturing.
"Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't." Act II, Scene II
This is the first time we see a more sentimental, empirical, even feminine side of Lady Macbeth.
First chiasma: Lady Macbeth is now feminine (sentimental), and now Macbeth is more masculine (logical).
Macbeth Representing Femininity
"My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man." Act I, Scene II
Masculinity: logic prevails over feelings.
Shakes = unsteady
Fear: Macbeth feels fear towards the idea.
Threat to his masculinity.
Lady Macbeth Representing Masculinity
"Unsex me here." Act I, Scene V
Lady Macbeth favors masculinity over femininity.
Women are not strong enough; capable.
Tone: violent, commanding & masculine
Lady Macbeth Representing Masculinity
"Come to my woman's breasts and take my milk for gall." Act I, Scene V
Milk: symbol of nurturing and femininity.
Gall: acid that decomposes food; opposite of milk.
Masculinity (gall) superior to femininity (milk).
Tone: violent, masculine & commanding.
Lady Macbeth Representing Masculinity
"A foolish thought to say a sorry sight." Act II, Scene II
Macbeth is the one who is worried and who is thinking about the situation. He is sentimental and feminine.
Lady Macbeth is much more logical, rational and masculine.
Tone: dry
Lady Macbeth Representing Femininity
"Wash your hands, put on your night gown, look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried. He cannot come out on's grave." Act V, Scene I
Lady Macbeth becomes vulnerable & feminine.
Chiasma between Lady Macbeth & Macbeth.
She is fussing at her husband because he over thinks things: Ironic
Cataloging: monotone tone
Prose = degeneration of Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth Representing Femininity
Macbeth Representing Masculinity
Macbeth Representing Femininity
"I will not fight thee.
Then yield ye coward." Act V, Scene VIII
Macbeth becomes frightened by Macduff.
Cowardice: opposite of masculinity.
Macduff uses masculinity to appeal to Macbeth.
Tone: defying (Macduff)
Lady Macbeth Representing Femininity
"Off this dead butcher and his friendlike queen, who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands took off her life." Act V, Scene VIII
All the women in the play have died.
Women (sentimentalism) = Inferiority
Lack of endurance, strength (Lady Macduff) and logic (Lady Macbeth).
Macbeth Representing Femininity
"I am afraid to think what I have done; look on't again I dare not." Act II, Scene II
Traits of masculinity & femininity are inverted.
Portrait of Macbeth: impotent, frail and unmanly.
Masculinity: apathetic and courageous.
Tone: cowardly
"She should have died hereafter; there would have been time for such a word." Act V, Scene V
Reaction: very masculine & logical.
Contrast: Macbeth initially & Macbeth finally.
No sentiment at all, he does not weep for his wife.
Tone: apathetic.
Prose = degeneration.
Macduff Epitomizes Masculinity & Lady Macduff Epitomizes Femininity

"And let the angle whom thou still hast served tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ripped." Sct V, Scene VIII
Climax of the play.
Laguage: very violent (untimely ripped)
Image: Macduff's birth was extremely violent.
Contrast: birth is something natural and pure; feminine
Macduff's birth: violent & masculine.
Macduff Epitomizes Masculinity
"Was my father a traitor mother?
Ay, that he was." Act IV, Scene II
Ironic: Macduff is the embodiment of masculinity
Masculinity: honor
Also ironic, because he leaves his family to save his country.
Did he betray his family?
Lady Macduff Epitomizes Femininity
"Wisdom? To leave his wife, to leave his babes," Act IV, Scene II
Lady Macbeth & Lady Macduff = foils
Embraces femininity; sentimentalism & nurturing.
She does not yearn to be masculine, but does say it is superiority.
Gender roles.
Tone: desperation
Full transcript