Please comment on my literature research essay on Shakespeare's women. The ladies I want to use are Lady Macbeth and Juliet.Thesis:  Women are relegated to the social sphere while the men...

Please comment on my literature research essay on Shakespeare's women. The ladies I want to use are Lady Macbeth and Juliet.

Thesis:  Women are relegated to the social sphere while the men command and conquer the political sphere. Need 5 points to prove the thesis about Lady Macbeth and Juliet.

Asked on by r-m123

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is an interesting concept, to look at two realms of life in several works; and political and social realms do seem to be a useful pairing, as well.  When I look at your two female examples, though, I have to wonder what issues you'll use.  Lady Macbeth in Macbeth is certainly more a part of the politics of the play than Juliet in Romeo and Juliet is.

Lady Macbeth is an equal partner with her husband; she convinces him to do what he is at least somewhat hesitant to do (murder Duncan) in an attempt to claim the crown.  She greets Duncan graciously (despite her intention to ensure he does not leave her house alive); she tries to appease all the lords at the banquet when Macbeth is seeing Banquo's ghost and is acting crazy (so their murderous ways are not discovered).  Even in her social duties, Lady Macbeth is still aware of the political ramifications.  In short, Lady Macbeth is not particularly relegated to a mere social presence nor is she excluded from the political realm in deference to her husband.

Juliet, on the other hand, has little experience in either realm. She has agreed to "look" at the young man her father has chosen, presumably a good match for the family; later she agrees to marry him (though she has much different intentions); she seems relatively uninvolved in the politics of the feud, though she is most certainly aware of it.  In the social realm, she attends her father's yearly party and she is a participant in the social rite of marriage.  In short, Juliet is not overtly a part of the politics of the family feud, but she is involved in several social moments in the play.

Perhaps what makes this more difficult is that Juliet is so young and Lady Macbeth is so, well, experienced.  I'm not sure which Shakespearean characters you're familiar with, but maybe Gertrude in Hamlet, a relatively familiar play, might be more comparable to Lady Macbeth simply because she has lived and experienced a little more life.  I still wonder if you'll find that there is a dichotomy (a division) between the political and social roles in Shakespeare, but with these two at least you'd have a similar comparison.  Best of luck!

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