As Stern said, being a man is not a simple task considering a man cannot please everyone to succeed. A man will blossom many flowers in one eye while in the meantime he drains the lakes of others’ eyes. Macbeth, Macduff, and Banquo had shown many “masculine” traits throughout the entire play. Arguably many of the men in Macbeth could have masculinity traits, but so did women. Lady Macbeth had a sundry amount of malicious thoughts and even came across the same intentions as Macbeth just in different timing of the play. Masculinity is shown in many characters especially in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as their traits start to influence each other as the play progresses. Masculinity can be conveyed through Lady Macbeth’s mentality, Macbeth’s thoughts before and after killing Duncan, and Macbeth’s changing mentality after becoming king.
When Macbeth was written, in the early 1600s, most women had no sovereignty in society or even over their own lives. Considering that this play was written during the 1600s, it had the impression that Lady Macbeth had a lot of say in her relationship with Macbeth. During her soliloquy, Lady Macbeth had expressed, “Come you spirits that tend of mortal thoughts, unsex me here” (Shakespeare 1.5.31). Lady Macbeth assumed if she had qualities of a man like the lack of care, then she could do any deed. Undoubtedly after the dire situation, Lady Macbeth showed no regret,
“A little water clears us of this deed”(Shakespeare 2.2.68). Lady Macbeth was the man in this situation; she had taken the role of the leader and told Macbeth what he had to do. But over time, the reader sees a sudden change, Lady Macbeth feels the pressure for killing Duncan and the effects that came with it. Towards the end, she starts reliving what occurred on the night of the murder to where she becomes dauntless she kills herself because of the guilt. Overall Lady Macbeth had a brave soul, she was truly convinced she could have killed Duncan or at least help Macbeth kill Duncan. But, “guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death” by Coco Chanel.
Unlike Lady Macbeth in the situation of killing Duncan, Macbeth had a different reaction. Macbeth perturbation had triggered before and after the killing of the king. Before the death of Duncan, Macbeth had imaginations: “I see thee still/ And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood/which was not so before” (Shakespeare 2.2.45).
Macbeth hallucinates a dagger covered in blood but not just any dagger but the one he will soon kill Duncan with. Moments before Duncan was killed, Macbeth rethinks the situation he would be placed in but with some encouraging words from Lady Macbeth and ambition to become king. He soon realizes that it’s better now with the opportunity than later when it’s gone. Once Macbeth had committed the evil deed the guilt started to palpable Macbeth’s conscious, “will all great Neptune’s ocean wash /this blood clean from my hand?” (Shakespeare 2. 2. 60-62). Macbeth perceived the malicious act just so he could succeed. The water would clean his hands from the sin physically but he knew the water could not clean his conscious clear.
But the guilt didn’t last long for Macbeth. Macbeth had become an avaricious, murky, and a vile king. Macbeth just wanted to be king for as long as possible. Which resulted in Macbeth having visits to the witches so they could tell him prophecies, which is where all the unnecessary killing starts. Macbeth was told, at the beginning of the play, that Banquo’s sons would be more prosperous than Macbeth. Which was more than enough for Macbeth to concluded that he had to kill Banquo but he didn’t do the deed himself, he had convinced minions to do it for him: “Who wear our health but sickly in his life, Which in his death were perfect.”(Shakespeare 3.1.110). Macbeth had manipulated these hitmen into thinking Banquo was the bad guy. That Banquo has brought all the adversity into their lives. Macbeth was a clever man, and he knew if Banquo was dead, he could be king for a long period of time. But, Macbeth also knew he had another threat, Macduff. Since Macbeth is the king, he allowed his pitiless dominated his behavior which the outcome was the death of Macduff’s family :
“Your castle is surprised, your wife and babes/ Savagely slaughtered” (Shakespeare 4.3. 208-209). Considering that Macbeth wanted to keep his sovereignty and be king until the moon turned blue. Macbeth is ruthless, merciless, and cold-hearted towards anyone he believed would get in his way. This leads him to kill Banquo and the Macduff family because not only did they upbraid him for killing Duncan but they were both obstacles in Macbeth’s life.
Overall, Masculinity could be conveyed through this play heavily by Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Lady Macbeth had represented masculinity in her inner thoughts by wishing to have men qualities. Macbeth had his last moments of being warm-hearted and having a guilty soul. To Macbeth having no care in the world and this was shown by the way he had reacted when his wife had killed herself from the guilt she carried. But masculinity was also showed that you don’t need to be a cold-hearted person to want male characteristics. But “too much” masculinity can lead a person to be conceited and imprudent. Masculinity is a trait that has a certain limit and when it’s surpassed, it turns into pure hatred.
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