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Whether because of the constraints of her society or because she is not fearless enough to kill, Lady Macbeth relies on deception and manipulation rather than violence to achieve her ends.
In the scene where Macduff learns of the murders of his wife and child, Malcolm consoles him by encouraging him to take the news in “manly” fashion, by seeking revenge upon Macbeth.
Macduff shows the young heir apparent that he has a mistaken understanding of masculinity.
The problem, the play suggests, is that once one decides to use violence to further one’s quest for power, it is difficult to stop.
There are always potential threats to the throne—Banquo, Fleance, Macduff—and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.
One of Shakespeare’s most forcefully drawn female characters, she spurs her husband mercilessly to kill Duncan and urges him to be strong in the murder’s aftermath, but she is eventually driven to distraction by the effect of Macbeth’s repeated bloodshed on her conscience.
In each case, ambition—helped, of course, by the malign prophecies of the witches—is what drives the couple to ever more terrible atrocities.Characters in Macbeth frequently dwell on issues of gender.Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband by questioning his manhood, wishes that she herself could be “unsexed,” and does not contradict Macbeth when he says that a woman like her should give birth only to boys.The witches’ prophecies spark Macbeth’s ambitions and then encourage his violent behavior; Lady Macbeth provides the brains and the will behind her husband’s plotting; and the only divine being to appear is Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft.Arguably, Macbeth traces the root of chaos and evil to women, which has led some critics to argue that this is Shakespeare’s most misogynistic play.The essay uses the thesis that masculinity is associated with certain character traits, and that every time masculinity is mentioned violence soon follows.The male gender is associated with certain qualities which are expected in order for one to be equated as a man.Malcolm’s comment shows that he has learned the lesson Macduff gave him on the sentient nature of true masculinity.It also suggests that, with Malcolm’s coronation, order will be restored to the Kingdom of Scotland.The model king, then, offers the kingdom an embodiment of order and justice, but also comfort and affection.Under him, subjects are rewarded according to their merits, as when Duncan makes Macbeth thane of Cawdor after Macbeth’s victory over the invaders.