It has been a historical and social trend for society to be predominantly ruled by males. This trend is seen at the beginning of the play. She has disturbed, horrified and intrigued both contemporary and modern audiences alike through her powerful diction. This study will focus on the way in which Shakespeare crafts his play and uses dramatic devices in his portrayal of Lady Macbeth in order to confront the gender stereotypes of the time, femininity and the natural order of society. During the early 17th century there was a substantial fear that if women were liberated from their domestic, maternal roles, the historically patriarchal society would unravel. In order to be able to answer the research question, it is vital to concretely establish the contemporary gender roles and the context of the play.
William Shakespeare's Macbeth William Shakespeare lived in an era where women possessed few political and private rights. Women were subjected to the will of men as men were thought to be greater morally, physically and intellectually. Shakespeare, as he was living in this hierarchical and patriarchal world, was subjected to this value system. His powerful and tragic play Macbeth, reflects aspects of this world but also challenges the very basis of it's foundations with the use of the characters, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, the Three Witches and Lady Macduff. These characters are not necessarily represented as traditional stereotypical type; this is inputted through the use of role reversal. Much of the literature composed in Elizabethan England reflects, whether deliberately or inadvertently, the gender inequities cited by Callaghan, Novy, and others.
These different gender roles are used to shape characters and create fear in the readers He leaves the question of what masculinity truly is open for the audience to decide. In the following essay, I will show some examples where Shakespeare made his own gender roles. Masculinity is a strong symbol used within gender throughout the play, and is a parallel with icons today. Women are typically labeled as inferior and emotional human beings with a nurturing and caring role. They tend to have a harder time today when trying to get jobs that were previously only held by males, for example, high political positions for example a president.
For example, Lady Macbeth continuously wants to be changed into a man in order to get certain duties done that Macbeth is hesitant to do. The way the play speaks about women can reflect on the way Shakespeare thought of gender roles, and can display how far society has come in four centuries. In the 17th century, women had few rights, and followed orders from men, at the time. The male characters have many feminine traits while the female characters have many more masculine and manlier traits. During the renaissance period women were only expected to clean, cook, and to have babies.