How are masculinity and femininity portrayed in Shakespeare's Macbeth? Discuss with examples from the play.
In Shakespeare's Macbeth, violence is associated with masculinity, and femininity weakness. In Act I, Scene 5, Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits to "unsex" her so that she can become "top-full/of direst cruelty!" Later, in Scene 7, Lady Macbeth has suggested that Macbeth make the second prediction of the witches come true by murdering Duncan while he is at Inverness. In defense of himself Macbeth tells her,
I dare do all the may become a man;
Who dare do more is none (1.7.46-47)
This statement, albeit reasonable, angers Lady Macbeth, who scornfully retorts, "When you durst do it, then you were a man." (1.7.49). After shaming him further and declaring her "manliness," Macbeth is inspired by her, telling her,
Bring forth men-children only;
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. (1.7.72-74)
Later, when Macbeth is unnerved after the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth ridicules him for his womanliness, saying she is braver than he:
My hands are of you color, but I shame
To wear a heart so...
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