How does Shakespeare explore the relationship between gender and power in Macbeth?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Macbeth the relationship between gender and power is best shown through the relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.  When Lady Macbeth receives word from her husband about the prophecy and his promotion, Lady Macbeth reflects upon Macbeth's character.  She knows that he is ambitious, yet she also thinks that he does not have the gumption to go after what he wants.  She says, "unsex me here" to suggest that she has the strength her husband lacks and is unfortunately held back by the conventions of women's behavior.  After the pair execute their plan and murder King Duncan, Lady Macbeth chides her husband for fearing that someone will uncover their crime.  She tells him that he is behaving like a woman.  These situations suggest that power is located in a masculine realm.