Women were often represented in Shakespeare’s plays as minor characters, on which there was put less focus than men. In the play called “Macbeth,” the author provides a rather controversial image of lady Macbeth, who started to behave like a man in order to achieve specific social status in the royal family. Having a strong character and motives, lady Macbeth finds herself tied with patriarchal society’s restrictions and establishments. She does not have any opportunity to realize her plans and ideas and faces opposition claiming that she should take the role of a good mother, like any other woman. Despite the fact that at the beginning of the play, lady Macbeth is portrayed as a strong personality with aims and desires, at the end of it, she turns out to become a weak woman, restricted by the prejudices of the patriarchal community.
The Power Of Women
In Act V (which is the last one), Scene III of the play, lady Macbeth constantly addresses the power of women to give birth, emphasizing their role in the lives of all the men. After lady Macbeth planned the murder of her husband to preserve his royal status, she was saying to herself that no man born to a woman would have power over her. From these words, one may see lady Macbeth’s strong beliefs about the role of women in society: they just could not be minor characters; they should be valued as much as men were. She was also saying that her mind and heart would never feel any sort of fear and would always be brave and able to find the courage to perform required actions. Thus, lady Macbeth was an “iron woman” who could easily become a knight, having enough intrinsic power to bravely protect others.
Raising Fear in Lady Macbeth’s Soul
Then, patriarchal society tied lady Macbeth even more tight, growing fears in her soul. After the planned murder, she faced a sort of paranoia, claiming that she would never be able to wash her hands from the blood. Lady Macbeth started to think that people (mostly men) tied her to a stake so that she could not fly and do what she wanted and considered appropriate. However, she still understood that she had to fight in that battle of opposed sides and follow the chosen route.
Finally, she was killed in reality, which can be considered as a metaphor, because of the written above battle between men and women. Despite the fact that lady Macbeth planned to kill another person only to help him hold power, her husband was not shocked because of her death, thinking that it was a suicide rather than a murder. This attitude demonstrates that Macbeth himself did not think of the wife as a human with a strong personality and iron character, who will not turn from the route, but rather a weak woman.
Summing all written above, one may claim that in Shakespeare’s play, lady Macbeth was broken by the patriarchal society in which she was obliged to live during her whole life. Starting like a man, aiming to achieve goals concerning social status, she found herself tied to a stroke without any opportunity to fly away. Lady Macbeth had a strong character, realized the role of women in society, and emphasized their power to give birth to all the men, but became killed without any proper investigation from her husband’s side, for whom she decided to murder another person.