In Macbeth how does Shakespeare challenge the traditional relationship between gender and power?
I have to write a 1000 word essay on this for school. We need to include at least 3 examples, but the only ones I can think of are through the characters of Lady Macbeth and the witches, who both have power in the play - I need one more point but I can't think of any.
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I like your initial ideas. However, I would argue that in a sense, you could probably stretch your point on Lady Macbeth to two points, just focusing on the way that she responds to news of the prophecy of the witches and how she acts to secure her husband's ascension to the throne. Clearly, there is plenty of material you can use in Act I and Act II to talk about this. In particular, you will want to focus on the way that Lady Macbeth gives orders and advice to her husband, rather than the other way round. One order she gives in Act I scene 5 is incredibly relevant to the rest of the play:
To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tonge: look like th'innocent flower,
But be the serpent under't.
Deception is something that Lady Macbeth rather than her husband seems to be a master of, as is shown in the next scene when she is able to play the role of the welcoming hostess whilst plotting to kill Duncan as he stays underneath her roof. You will want to talk about the way that Lady Macbeth is the one who comes up with the plot and then has to persuade her husband to carry it through in Act I scene 7, and then has to finish off the job that he only left half done by smearing the grooms with Duncan's blood. At every stage it is she who is the driving force behind Duncan's murder and at every stage it is Macbeth who is the weaker party. Exploring this in greater detail should give you more than enough to write the entire essay on. Good luck!
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