Upon hearing the news of their wives deaths, whose reaction is more masculine? Macbeth or MacduffUpon hearing the news of their wives death, who reacts in a more masculin way? Macbeth or Macduff....

Upon hearing the news of their wives deaths, whose reaction is more masculine? Macbeth or Macduff

Upon hearing the news of their wives death, who reacts in a more masculin way? Macbeth or Macduff.

Macbeth stays strong and moves on with his plans, however he does not mourn - could this be connected to the way in which Lady Macbeth previously taunted him about his masculinity. Macduff mourns his wife's death before persuing with his revenge, however he takes the news rather badly and is very distraught.

4 Answers | Add Yours

kristenfusaro's profile pic

kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Macbeth, as a play, challenges and questions the definition of masculinity, but ultimately results in the original meaning that a truly masculine male is one who is human.

First we are broached by Lady Macbeth, who defies all "rules" regarding being a woman in 12th century Scotland as she calls to the spirits to "unsex" her. She then challenges Macbeth's masculinity when he deliberates with his conscience about murdering Duncan. This, in an almost strictly Freudian manner, transforms into Macbeth challenging the murders on their masculinity when they question whether or not to kill Banquo. Ultimately, Macbeth more-or-less "shrugs it off" when he discovers that Lady Macbeth has died. While this may seem as the ideally masculine reaction in Macbeth's world, it is only because he has become so far removed from humanity that he is able to do so. Shakespeare shows us -- the less human you are, the more able you are to commit vile and devious acts -- and we can synthesize this understanding to be that one cannot possibly be masculine, a human trait, if one does not even fit into the human category.

kiwi's profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Of course this largely depends on your definition of masculine. Certainly Macduff's reaction is more human, and as his loss also included his children, then his blood line has been destroyed too. Macbeth's cold reaction is as a result of him being in shock as events spiral to conspire against him. He has no children: there is much specualtion as to whether this is a factor in the unhinged nature of Lady Macbeth. Macbeth knows that without an heir he has a 'fruitless crown' and is thus emasculated - he has no blood line. Macduff is the more masculine character on the whole.

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Macduff received news of his wife's death as his life and reign were coming to an end. News of Lady Macbeth's death was one more disaster amid many others as Macbeth reached the end of the line. He seemed overwhelmed by everything, and he reacted to her death with an unfeeling acceptance. He didn't seem all that surprised by another loss. Macduff, however, lost his wife, all his children, and all his servants in Macbeth's unimaginable act of cruelty and revenge. This was unexpected and unbelievable to him. His anguish was a reflection of this great loss and of his feelings of responsibility in their deaths. He had left them alone, and they had all been murdered only because Macbeth bore him malice. They were innocent victims.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I don't know about more masculine, but Macbeth's is definitely colder, and more unfeeling.  Macduff had a beautiful family relationship as depicted in the fun "monkey" business scene between mother and son before their demise.  Macbeth and his wife had a good relationship before they became King and Queen, but had grown apart and distant as a result of Macbeth's conniving and her guilt.

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question