ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Role of Women in Shakespeare's Macbeth

Updated on April 26, 2012

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth the relationship between cruelty and masculinity is contrary to most other works of art. This play portrays women to be manipulative, violent, and evil. Macbeth, the play, breaks away from the stereotype that men are the sinister ones and shows that evil can, and does, come in many different forms.

Lady Macbeth is the greatest evil in the play and is the mastermind behind all of Macbeth’s evil deeds. While Macbeth does the actual murdering, his actions and thoughts imply that he does not really want to kill Duncan or Banquo. After Macbeth murders Duncan he whispers, “Macbeth hath murdered sleep…” This means that Macbeth has killed his innocence and he feels regret for that. Also, once he returns from Duncan’s chamber with the bloody dagger he does not want to return to the scene of the crime to put the dagger back because he does not want to relive what he has done. Again, this shows remorse. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth angrily returns the dagger and calls Macbeth a coward. This shows that Lady Macbeth feels no guilt for pressuring her husband into killing Duncan and a person without guilt for such a crime as this is a person full of evil. Another aspect of evil is greed; and Lady Macbeth is very greedy. When she hears of the witches’ prophecy she immediately forces Macbeth to act on it. She forces him to do things that he would not have normally done just so that she could be the queen of Scotland. She wanted Duncan dead so badly but since she was a women, and women were believed to be innocent and kind (this is illustrated when she says “unsex me here...”), she practically could not. So, she forces her husband to do her will even though he had little desire for violence.

Lady Macbeth resemble the exact opposite of what a lady usually resembles in literary works. Shakespeare does this to show that not all women, as we know, are sweet and courteous. He is showing the bad side of women which was never shown in literature before, in this regard, Shakespeare pioneer for all writers after him.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kloydskii profile image


      6 years ago

      Engaging insights! This is one of my favorite Shakespearean works. "Out, out, brief candle..."


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)