Macbeth Versus Masculinity

Essay by zksHigh School, 11th gradeB, August 2004

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Masculinity means having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man. In the Shakespeare play Macbeth, the character of Macbeth is defined as courageous, strong and a good general. He has many qualities that make him masculine. Macbeth shows his masculinity first while he is fighting in the battle against the Norwegians. Also, when Macbeth plots to murder Banquo and Fleance he decides to keep the plan a secret from Lady Macbeth because he wants to be in control. However, later on in the play Macbeth begins to lose his masculinity and start to go insane. Throughout the beginning of the play, Macbeth demonstrates some very masculine qualities however, towards the end Macbeth becomes less masculine and can be seen as less of a man.

First, Macbeth is very masculine, courageous and brave while fighting in the battle for King Duncan. All of King Duncan's servants see Macbeth as brave, a quality which is associated with masculinity.

After the battle is complete Malcolm discusses how well Macbeth fought in the battle. "This is the sergeant who, like a good and hardy soldier, fought 'gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!" (1.2.3-5). Malcolm discusses how brave Macbeth has been throughout the battle and what a wonderful fighter he is. Macbeth also shows his masculinity in the battle when he is killing the Norwegian soldiers, and he took no pity on his enemy. "Sergeant: which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps, and fixed his heads upon our battlements" (1.2.21-24). Macbeth cut off the head of his enemy and took no mercy on them. This is a characteristic of a masculine man because he is seen as physically powerful and manly.

Second, Macbeth shows masculinity, when he is plotting...