Comparative essay between a play and a novel Macbeth – Shakespeare

Comparativeessay between a play and a novel Macbeth – Shakespeare

Feminismas displayed in Novel

Macbethis among the most famous tragedies that William Shakespeare haswritten. The story is more horrible than its famous counterpartHamlet, this story features strong characters and uniquely featuresstrong female characters. Indeed, Shakespeare’s Macbethdemonstrates how women were controlled and defined by patriarchalsociety, which they lived in as well as mirrors issues that eventoday’s women still contend with in modern society. Macbeth storyis dominated by male character it focuses on a man fighting againstmen in his court with the aim of securing his position as ruler.There are three witches in this story, who are referred to as WeirdSisters, and are powerful as well as prophetic. They are defined ashaving beards an issue that is genetically male feature. Although itis not clearly demonstrated in the presentations as well asadaptations of a play with witches having facemask hair, it helpswitches display a type of masculinity that allows them to expresstheir power (Shakespeare 78).

Thesewitches appear to be nearly androgynous, non-binary genderedindividuals. Dr. Caroline quoted Marilyn French on feminism story andhow with witches: “All are female but with a beard, aggressive andauthoritative, as well as appear to have power to create pettymischief. In the article, “The English Witch Belief,” KatharineBriggs describes the word witches to be outdated, almost invariablyignorant and poor, and normally of an ill life. The description ofword witches as be poor seem not to fit completely with Shakespeare’switches in the play, but the concept of women being on outskirts ofsociety because of their strange personalities and behavior as wellas ugly features. Similarly, women or witches in the case arestrongly connected to nature (Bicks 93). In her story, Brigg’sdescribes that concerning nature, “power drawn by the witches fromearth is suggestive.”

Althoughthis departs some from witches in Macbeth, it connects feministinterpretations of the witchcraft as well as view of women duringthat time and even currently. “Ritual fertility and purity are bothessential in magic,” link that is made with nature. Regularnature’s elements are defined as “Mother Nature” offering amaternal human feature to the earth, environment and weather.Caroline defined witches as “most fertile force in the story” andthey live in an anarchic, abundantly ambiguous area just likeprophet, devotees, and poets of the female cult, fundamentalseparatists who contempt male power. This is a strong statement andidentifies with feminist tributes of witches. In the story, thewitches establish themselves as a power source. They remain unitedalthough separated from other characters throughout the play,appearing when they want and then vanishes once they share theirwarnings (Bicks 94).

Shakespeare’switches appear to be romantic and not the way Briggs defineshistorical context of the English witches. While the witches inMacbeth appear to be weird characters, Shakespeare appears to sidewith the blander side of the witchcraft to handling the English vs.Continental witches, which Briggs described in her book. Despiteliterary descriptions and comparisons, it is hard to witness howthese women are motivating, or how they are excellent examples offemale characters. Although the three witches represent these womenat their central, deeply rooted in sisterhood and nature, and free ofmale control, they are cannot be depicted as heroes. In both stageand screen adaptations, they appear as peculiar and sometimes scarytherefore they are referred to as “The Weird Sisters.” It isdifficult to look at the witches as strong while their portrayal isboth weakens and weird over time (Shakespeare 80).

Sometimesit is hard to read Shakespeare via a feminist lens. Shakespearefemale characters regularly fall flat or just fall in love. Thefemale characters are commonly two-dimensional and are suppressed byfathers or male figures in the story. Sometimes people are comfortedinto thinking that most of them are durable, fighting to marry theperson they want, but forgetting that the happy ending for them canonly be found in marriage or male companionship. For instance, mostof the same-sex relationships in this story, two women who becamebetter friends and those who were sisters, are separated at end byrealization that marriage terminates these links. Literary scholars,regularly fail to agree on who is a lesser character of two evils inthis story, Lady Macbeth or Macbeth. Certainly, each character hasvillainous streak, but who is truly to be blamed for their terribleactions. Most people find someone to blame as well as point a fingerat one person who is faulty in this story. Many point their finger atLady Macbeth and accuse her of being worse than tyrant King Macbethis. In her article, Caroline states that, “Macbeth was given thename ‘brave Macbeth’ by his peers because of playing the role ofa butcher. Although the masculine harshness is celebrated in theMacbeth’s character, most readers currently find same passionateeffort in the Lady Macbeth to be horrible and vile (Tyson 67).

Inorder to follow with deception and the murders, Lady Macbethbeseeches the spirits to “unsex” her as well as fill her fromcrown to toe with cruelty. She continues by encouraging spirits tocome and touch her breasts. Caroline views this as confirmation thatindeed Lady Macbeth traded her customary feminine duty of nurture andmotherhood for power that agree with violent and masculine of theworld that her husband belong. Although interpretation of Adelmanabout Lady Macbeth is of “female temptress,” I think Lady Macbethuse her minds more than her sexuality to accomplish what she desire.While convincing her husband to continue with the murder of the thenKing, Lady Macbeth prods and pokes him, provoking his masculinity andencouraging him to do it, or she will consider him less than a man(Tyson 68).

Theconcept that masculinity is better and stronger than femininequalities is the reason men were expected to conduct themselvesdifferently. Lady Macbeth manages to persuade her husband to murderthe King by mocking him and questioning his manhood. For Lady Macbethsuccess in life depends on masculinity of a person, but for Macbethsuccess in life need one to be more than a male. If Lady Macbethcontinues to be complacent as female, she must accept that as a womanshe does not have the power or stature. This issue goes beyond topresent time and masculinity is a prized trait in individuals versussupposedly weaker feminine side (Shakespeare 82).

Feminismin the Shakespeare’s play

Macbethtragedy is one of the William Shakespeare’ plays, which powerfullycontain feminism concern. Macbeth tragedy depicts brutality, powerabuse, and self-ambition. As a main character, Macbeth is swayed bywomen to make decisions concerning his life. In the beginning,Macbeth is convinced by prophecies from three witches into becomingthaneof Glamis,then thaneof Cawdorand finally the king. Macbeth takes his pen and writes a letter tohis wife informing her concerning the prophecies. To accomplish theprophecies, his wife Lady Macbeth encouraged him to assassinate KingDuncan. Finally, Macbeth manages to assassinate King Duncan, andinherit the throne. Nevertheless, towards the end of this play, LadyMacbeth and Macbeth did not enjoy their lives and finally they died.The issue of feminism in this play is not positive because women areexposed as people who influenced men negatively (Tyson 75).

LadyMacbeth appears to posse great desire of fulfilling the prophecies.Because of that, she encourages Macbeth to kill King Duncan, and thisindicates that her position as female is esteemed. Lady Macbethportrays herself as a wife with authority to even make a gooddecision on behaves of her husband. Lady Macbeth mocked her husbandwhen he hesitated to murder King Duncan. This is revealed in theirconversation when Lady tells him “if you fail to murder the King,then you are not man enough.” In this conversation, Lady Macbethchallenges Macbeth’s manhood provoking him to murder. Because ofthis, one can conclude that Lady Macbeth has power to control herhusband. She also reveals her insincerity behind her power. Accordingto line 55 of first Act scene seven, Lady Macbeth argued “I havegiven suck, and I know how tender tis to love babe that milks me…”she portrays herself as a woman who should do such actions. Moreover,Davis states that according to the materialist feminism theory, inspite of her strength, the last weakness of Lady Macbeth result frommasculine of her gender (Bicks 96).

Although,Lady Macbeth appears to be strong, she still has her own weaknesses.Certainly, Lady Macbeth is among the most noticeable examples ofmalicious feminism in this play. She confronts her customary role asmother and this distortion of the sacred acts of women enhances fearof how long she can go in order to accomplish her goal. Sincenineteenth century, the feminine preserve place for a woman has beenhome and hearth of nurture and sympathy, of simple piety as well aschildrearing. However, in this play Lady Macbeth fails to fulfillthat and portray herself as a good woman though selfish, harmless,and over control. Lady Macbeth appears rational, strong, ambitious,determined, and sometimes even barbarous woman. She lack desire tobear children or protect children and therefore one can conclude thatLady Macbeth is a bad woman (Shakespeare 85).

LadyMacbeth seems to be dominant in deciding as well as planning when andhow her husband should murder King Duncan. She rebuke her husband forfailing to act as man enough, but despite all these capabilities,Lady Macbeth did not reveal Macbeth’s part in the process ofinheriting the throne. In the beginning, Lady Macbeth portraysherself as a character who can yield to creation of persistent plots.Lady Macduff as embodiment of motherhood refuses to conceive evilscheme since she invests her rational powers in the attainments ofher children and husband. Contrary, Lady Macbeth is not as destinedas Lady Macduff to her domestic duties she improves her intellectualabilities for her own advantage. Although, many people would seeintelligence from man character as beneficial feature, patriarchydescribes Lady Macbeth’s intellect as weakness and as an examplethat she is abnormal and “unfulfilled” woman (Tyson 77).

Masculineculture inspires Lady Macbeth to devote herself in motherhood role.Most people view Lady Macbeth as abnormal as well as selfish when sheadmits that in some situations she stated that “she dash herchild’s brains out,” this is a very unusual statement accordingto masculine’s beliefs that women’s wish to bear as well asdefend children is one part of “women natural biological makeup.”Even though, Lady Macbeth is strong and intelligent as the playbegins, she is reduced to unimportant individual troubled by dreamsas well as guilt because of masculine interpretation of her gender(Shakespeare 87).

Awidespread assumption on why domination of women is rarely recognizedthan domination of some religious or ethnic groups is because women’sloyalty towards men from their society constantly overtakes theirloyalty towards women from various classes. While some economic andsocial factors dispersed people from various communities, in theseassemblies women are alienated from each other. They remain lonely,and that prevent women from making important alterations since theyhave little power in size. Although, Lady Macbeth is seen as strongparalleled to other women, she has no means of enacting her plansbecause she remains isolated from other women throughout the play.Even if her strength is abundant, Lady Macbeth is not very powerfulto deal with the murder of King Duncan because she is alone. She keptthe secret of the murderous deeds since she is female, therefore,inherently weak. However, according to the theory of materialistfeminism, despite Lady Macbeth earlier indication of strength, hereventual weakness resulted from patriarchal portrayal of the femalegender (Bicks 98).


Bicks,Caroline. MidwifingSubjects in Shakespeare`s England.Aldershot GB: Ashgate, 2003. Print.

Davis,Marion. ABrief Look at Feminism in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.Grin Verlag, 2009. Print.

Shakespeare,William. Feminismand Lady Macbeth.New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999. Print.

Tyson,Lois. CriticalTheory Today: A User-Friendly Guide.New York: Taylor &amp Francis Group, 2006. Print.