Macbeth - A Human Drama Book Review by friendlyfirex

Macbeth - A Human Drama
An analysis of gender constructs and ideals in William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth."
# 114037 | 1,287 words | 0 sources | 2009 | US
Published on May 27, 2009 in Drama and Theater (English) , Literature (English) , Shakespeare (MacBeth)

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This paper discusses the way Shakespeare questions, criticizes and dismantles his era's ideas of gender norms in his play "Macbeth." The writer explains the way in which gender was perceived in Shakespeare's times and the role of the theory of humors in defining the biological and psychological differences between men and women. Examples are given of how, in "Macbeth," Shakespeare questions the validity of this concept by pumping up his era's idea of masculinity to the point of implosion in Macbeth and by injecting male aggressiveness into Lady Macbeth and other female characters. The paper concludes that Shakespeare has created a work transcending his times in that it speaks to human sensibilities, and not gender-conscious ones.

From the Paper:

"The biological and philosophical understanding of gender during Shakespeare's time brings concrete gender conceptualizations of superior and dominant men and subordinate women to a reading of Macbeth, but it also leaves one with a sense of balance and commonality that becomes apparent by the end of the play. In tracing the ancient construction of these archetypes, one can turn to the distribution of labor in primitive societies: the male's generally greater physical strength lent him to aggressive duties such as hunting, while the female cooked. Taking this basis a step further, one finds the system of elements and humors forming the basis of male and female physiology and psychology."

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