English II Honors Period 6
05 March 2019
Influential Power of Women in Macbeth
In the play of Macbeth, William Shakespeare focuses on the theme of power. The play takes place in Scotland as Macbeth, the main character, goes through a journey to obtain and assure his power. Along the way, Macbeth not only grows in his own desire for power, but that desire is influenced by the other characters in the play. Shakespeare displays that women have a particular influential role especially when it comes to power and committing negative actions. He uses the female characters of Lady Macbeth and the witches to show that women can take on the role of the influencer and lead men to become immoral.
Lady Macbeth influences Macbeth to seek power by challenging his manliness and pushing him toward confidence to go through with their scheme. When Macbeth questions whether he should go through with the murder, Lady Macbeth asserts, “Wouldst thou have that / which thou esteem ‘st the ornament of life / and live a coward in thine own esteem, / letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’” (Shakespeare 1.7.46-48). Lady Macbeth’s words of “live a coward” expresses that she is threatening his manliness by calling him weak. Someone who is a coward is afraid of a challenge and does not possess the courage to encounter dangerous things. Macbeth, as a man, does not want to be seen as a coward. Out of his own self-awareness, he wants to prove his wife wrong and consequently, he falls for Lady Macbeth’s trap of pushing him to pursue the murder through her attack of his masculinity. Lady Macbeth also threatens his manliness when she says, “When you durst do it, then you are a man” (1.7.56). Again, she is using his actions against him by stating that if he goes through with the scheme then he shows his dominance. Lady Macbeth uses the idea of manliness and dominance as bait to get her husband to go through with the immoral deed of Duncan’s assassination and Macbeth takes the bait when he replies, “I am settled” (1.7.92). Lady Macbeth challenges his dominance and masculinity in order to convince Macbeth that if he does not go through with their plan, then he is both a coward and is not strong enough to be a man and therefore degrades himself to the weaker sex, women. Macbeth reveals through his decision to carry on with the scheme that no man likes to believe that a woman is better than he is and therefore he will try to prove his dominance by going through with the assassination.
Not only does Macbeth’s wife have an...