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Dangerous Women in The Macbeth

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Williams Shakespeare “Macbeth” portrays woman as dangerous and powerful, although very few women characters are in the play, the ones that are in it have a large role in Macbeths downfall and they truly ruin him. Macbeth would never have tried to become king if he hadn’t heard the prophesy told by the three “weird sisters” and he would have never killed Duncan if Lady Macbeth had not manipulated his thoughts. Many of Shakespeare’s female characters want power, but attaining power was not as easy as it was for men. Women could not get leadership roles as easily as men and if they wanted the power it was not given to them, they had to get it themselves. Lady Macbeth was one of these women who wanted power and control, her motivation and will to get power was like no other. She ruined Macbeth because of her own jealousy for it. As soon as she received Macbeths letter about what the three witches had told him she was immediately prepared to kill King Duncan as she thought Macbeth would be too weak. She also made Macbeth feel small and weak by threatening his masculinity. The Witches are beyond a doubt the most dangerous characters in the entire play. Even if they did not do anything directly, they started the chain of events that lead to Macbeths collapse and many other character’s deaths. They were also Macbeths primary call to action. The witches prophesy influenced everything that happened in the play, it especially influenced Lady Macbeth as she would never have made Macbeth murder Duncan and set Macbeth into a “frenzy” of murders from then on.

As a woman Lady Macbeth seems innocent and pure but really, she is the creator of the entire plan. When she receives the letter from Macbeth her jealousy for Macbeths power and ambition to gain power is shown, she begs Macbeth to hurry home so she can coax him into killing Duncan before he has time to think and change his mind. She does this by saying “that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round” (Act 1, scene 5). Lady Macbeth continually has strength over her husband because she crushes his manliness with her womanliness. As Macbeth begins to have second thoughts, Lady Macbeth jumps in and threatens his masculinity. She states “when you durst do it, then you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more than a man.” She is saying that she would willingly do something if she had promised to do it. This makes Macbeth feel vulnerable and cowardly. Lady Macbeth sees this chance and uses it to gain strength over him and he quickly begins to obey her and even worships her. “come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here and fill me from the crown to top toe top-full of direst cruelty, make thick my blood, stop up th’ access and passage of remorse” (act 1 scene 5). This quote is important to understand her logic behind her ideas. She is jealous that Macbeth gets to murder Duncan when she thinks he is weak and not fit to. As a result, to try and make her worthy of murder she begs the spirits to “unsex me” saying that if she is a woman, she can’t be powerful.

The three weird sisters play a large role in Macbeth. They cause both his rise to power and his downfall. Through the influence of the “prophecy” Macbeth transforms from a noble military general to a cold-blooded egotistical man who has gone mad with the need for power which fatefully leads to his death. The witches control Macbeth and his actions, they do not actually force him to do specific actions, but the prophecies had a large impact on him. The first time that Macbeth sees the three witches is on his way home from fighting the Irish, they reveal his fate. At first Macbeth did not believe them however after he gets home and is told he will become the thane of Cawdor. Influenced by the witches Macbeth forms a strong passion and ambition to become the new king of Scotland. This ambition became so strong that he went through very extreme measures to get what he wanted. The witches were the difference makers in Macbeth, they had Macbeth’s trust and they affected how he behaved. Some say that all the witches did was inform him of his prophecy, nothing else but all of Macbeths evil actions resulted from the sister’s evil prophecies. If the witches weren’t in the play then Macbeth would never have thought about being king, he wouldn’t have become obsessed with power.

In conclusion, the women of this play are portrayed as dangerous because women in Macbeth have to mask their femineity in order to get power. They indefinitely altered Macbeths fate and had a huge impact to Macbeths death. Although Macbeth got his confidence back, they were the steppingstones to his uprise and down fall. 

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Dangerous Women In The Macbeth. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
“Dangerous Women In The Macbeth.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
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