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Lady Macbeth Essay: Powerful Woman

Hello, I’ve done an essay on how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as an powerful women. Please bare in mind that I’ve rushed this essay but I’d love feedback if any are given. Thank you and enjoy!

In Shakespeare’s allegorical play, Lady Macbeth is constructed as a powerful women in order to teach the current Jacobean audience that women had power as well as men did. Shakespeare employs the antagonist of Lady Macbeth as she is implied to subvert the Patriarchal to portray the only way to win back simple rights was to break the ruling in society. This implies what women would have been capable of during the era.

Starting with the extract provided, Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth as an powerful women to teach the Jacobean audience about women had power as well if women weren’t restricted from these simple rights which men are freely entitled to. This is explored through Lady Macbeth’s command, demanding “the spirits” to “unsex me here and take my milk for gall”. These demanding phrases is evoked through the imperative verbs of “Come” and “take”, implying her omnipotent antagonist as she is shown to challenge “the spirits” above. The noun of “gall” creates deathly connotations as it portrays lady Macbeth wants to replace within her “breast”, abolishing her motherly hood. She does this by subverting the Patriarchy in order to gain this power for her to feel no remorse” for Duncan when it is occurring. This would have agitated the Jacobean audience due to her association with the Supernatural. Shakespeare constructs this theme to emphasise to the contemporary audience how naïve the Jacobean society was towards the Supernatural. The duplicitous Lady Macbeth is also conveyed through her corrupted femininity as she is shown to eager masculinity rather than her femininity. This is portrayed through Lady Macbeth’s commanding order to “unsex me and take my milk for gall”. She doesn’t want to be gentle, soft, sweet-tempered–qualities stereotypically associated with her sex (all the more so in the Elizabethan period). She wants to lose such qualities in favour of bloodlust and warrior-like toughness. “Make thick my blood” means she wants to be cold-hearted, wants her wounds to heal over quickly before she feels any pain. The manipulative verb “unsex” emphasises her determination for the crown which further highlights she does not feel no remorse by subverting the patriarchy. This refers back to Shakespeare’s purpose of the written play to explore how women have power as well as men, but were constricted by the Patriarchal ruling. However, this melancholy statement in her soliloquy would have made the Jacobean audience to feel sympathetic towards Lady Macbeth as she is restricted from gaining these such simple rights from accessing power which men were able to access during the era. This would typically affect the women in society as they know how it feels to be controlled by the Patriarchal, implying this divide in gender.

Another way Shakespeare employs Lady Macbeth’s omnipotent antagonist in order to teach the Jacobean audience how women have power within them, but we’re confined by the Patriarchal as they were limited from these simple rights. Lady Macbeth is implied as malicious through the graphical imagery of “The raven himself is hoarse, that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements”. The noun “raven” is constructed to symbolise death as it further creates deathly connotations of Duncan’s “entrance”, foreshadowing the later events in Act 1. This highlights Lady Macbeth’s Machiavellian antagonist, exemplifying her ambitious character of removing her femininity and confiding it with masculine features in order to fill it with “the direst cruelty” and carry out the regicide sufficiently. The imperative verb of “my” again refers back to Shakespeare’s reference by constructing Lady Macbeth to indicate how women have power but were restricted from these simple rights due to the Patriarchal pushing it down. Furthermore, the adjective “fatal” highlights Lady Macbeth’s dominant antagonist as she constantly refers back to the possibility of her becoming Queen herself. This adjective further foreshadows the tragic denouement which is to come to her as a consequence of subverting the Patriarchal. This would have also warned the Jacobean audience of the consequences which lead to when challenging the Patriarchal as they are left to question their fate. This further refers back to Shakespeare’s intensional message on how women are capable of power, but were confined by the Patriarchal which limited their simple rights.

Additionally, Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth as an powerful women in order to teach the Jacobean audience that a women have the capability of handing power in society, but were forced to not use it due to the persuasion of the Patriarchal which limited their simple rights. Lady Macbeth’s powerfulness is evoked through her manipulation on her husband ‘Macbeth’ as she persuades him to “proceed in this business”. She gives him choices to live a king or “live a coward” which implies her powerful antagonist subverting the Patriarchal as she is challenging her husband which is higher up on the ruling than she is. Lady Macbeth is shown to emasculate her husband in order to almost use him as an “instrument” to gain her “desires”: Queen. This evokes her Machiavellian behaviour as she only cares about herself, feeling no remorse for others, including her husband. This would have feared the Jacobean audience as Lady Macbeth is subverting the patriarchal in order to be on the throne which would have made them to predict her fatal flaw in the denouement of the tragic play. This refers back to Shakespeare’s message to the Jacobean audience, implying how women are capable of having power, but were constricted of their simple rights which left them vulnerable and hopeless. This is why Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth’s dominant antagonist as she subverts the Patriarchal to gain these simple masculine privileges that everyone is entitled to so she doesn’t have to feel remorse. In the Jacobean era, women were portrayed as weary and vulnerable, whilst men were conveyed as “valiant” and bestial citizens in society as they were in control. This further dehumanises women in the era as women and men were both capable of such things, but women were stereotypically indicated as almost like peasants. This would have made the female Jacobeans to feel hatred towards men as they are soon to realise how society favouritism men over women.

Furthermore, Lady Macbeth is constructed as an omnipotent antagonist to emphasise how women are capable of handling power, but were restricted by the Patriarchal which limited their rights in society. Lady Macbeth is again implied to manipulate her husband ‘Macbeth’ to persuade him to do the regicide in order to make her become Queen herself and Macbeth as “king hereafter”. Lady Macbeth demands Macbeth to “look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it” when committing regicide on King Duncan. The purpose of the façade through Lady Macbeth’s commandment creates tension and mystery towards the current audience as it highlights how women are capable of power by subverting the Patriarchal. She is almost compelling him to mask his evilness within and put on his “innocent” face. However, the simile of the “innocent flower” can represent Macbeth’s ego, whilst the biblical metaphor alludes the Bible story of ‘Adam and Eve’ as the “serpent” is symbolic to pure evilness, portraying Lady Macbeth’s antagonist. It can be determined that Lady Macbeth can be classified as the “serpent” which feeds Eve, in this case “Macbeth”, the apple which can be symbolic to the “direct cruelty”. The plotters are represented by the “serpent” on the medal whilst the monarchies are represented by the “innocent flowers” Shakespeare is doing this in an obvious form of flattery of king James but also as a way to say look I’m completely loyal to you and therefore do not treat me with some kind of suspicion. This indication exemplifies Lady Macbeth’s omnipotent antagonist as she is almost baby feeding her husband her ambitious morality in order for Macbeth to commit regicide. She does this by subverting the Patriarchal to win back simple rights hat everyone is entitled to as this further links back to Shakespeare’s message of how women are capable of having power, but were restricted by the Patriarchal itself, limiting their simple rights as a human being.

The final way Shakespeare employs Lady Macbeth’s powerful women is through her manipulative quotation towards her husband, Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is implied to have emasculated Macbeth as she tells him that he is “too full o’ the milk of human kindness” in order to persuade him to gain more masculine to commit regicide. The use of hyperbole is constructed to indicate how Lady Macbeth’s ambitious character is eager to become Queen which highlights how powerful she is as she is challenging her husband by emasculating his masculine, leaving him to feel vulnerable as a man. Lady Macbeth is using him as an “instrument” in order to make the prophecy come true of Macbeth becoming “king hereafter” which also leads Lady Macbeth to become Queen. This further indicates her Machiavellian antagonist as she is indicated to become powerful enough in order to take political power over her husband and the “battlements”. This refers back to Shakespeare’s moral message of how women are capable of having power, but were confined by the Patriarchy, limiting their human rights. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that she’d rather “plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed its brains out had I so sworn as you have done to this”. These past participle violent verbs of “plucked” and “dashed” further emphasises Lady Macbeth’s powerful woman as she is challenging the Patriarchal by powering over her fate. These violent references to a baby illustrate a possibility of Lady Macbeth might have suffered from a miscarriage which may cause her to rather do this gruesome act than abandon a promise. If this so be true, this would compel Macbeth to “proceed in this business” as he would feel remorse for his “dearest love”. This would have made the Jacobean audience to also feel sympathy for Lady Macbeth as her malicious actions could have been caused by her miscarriage. This refers back to Shakespeare’s allegorical message towards the audience of how women are capable of power, but were pushed down by the Patriarchal ruling which limited their simple human rights. Shakespeare makes this connection to emphasise that even femininity can cause women to become powerful like men.

In conclusion, Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth as an powerful women in order to teach the Jacobean audience that women are capable of having power, but the Patriarchal ruling constricted this, leaving women vulnerable and weak. Lady Macbeth is employed through the play in order to exemplify what women would have been capable of if the Patriarchal did not restrict their rights from gaining such power. This is why Lady Macbeth is presented in the play as she shows the contemporary audience that the only way to win their freedom back is to subvert the ruling in society to just gain simple rights that everyone is entitled to.
Original post by Leah Brayshaw
Hello, I’ve done an essay on how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as an powerful women. Please bare in mind that I’ve rushed this essay but I’d love feedback if any are given. Thank you and enjoy!

In Shakespeare’s allegorical play, Lady Macbeth is constructed as a powerful women in order to teach the current Jacobean audience that women had power as well as men did. Shakespeare employs the antagonist of Lady Macbeth as she is implied to subvert the Patriarchal to portray the only way to win back simple rights was to break the ruling in society. This implies what women would have been capable of during the era.

Starting with the extract provided, Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth as an powerful women to teach the Jacobean audience about women had power as well if women weren’t restricted from these simple rights which men are freely entitled to. This is explored through Lady Macbeth’s command, demanding “the spirits” to “unsex me here and take my milk for gall”. These demanding phrases is evoked through the imperative verbs of “Come” and “take”, implying her omnipotent antagonist as she is shown to challenge “the spirits” above. The noun of “gall” creates deathly connotations as it portrays lady Macbeth wants to replace within her “breast”, abolishing her motherly hood. She does this by subverting the Patriarchy in order to gain this power for her to feel no remorse” for Duncan when it is occurring. This would have agitated the Jacobean audience due to her association with the Supernatural. Shakespeare constructs this theme to emphasise to the contemporary audience how naïve the Jacobean society was towards the Supernatural. The duplicitous Lady Macbeth is also conveyed through her corrupted femininity as she is shown to eager masculinity rather than her femininity. This is portrayed through Lady Macbeth’s commanding order to “unsex me and take my milk for gall”. She doesn’t want to be gentle, soft, sweet-tempered–qualities stereotypically associated with her sex (all the more so in the Elizabethan period). She wants to lose such qualities in favour of bloodlust and warrior-like toughness. “Make thick my blood” means she wants to be cold-hearted, wants her wounds to heal over quickly before she feels any pain. The manipulative verb “unsex” emphasises her determination for the crown which further highlights she does not feel no remorse by subverting the patriarchy. This refers back to Shakespeare’s purpose of the written play to explore how women have power as well as men, but were constricted by the Patriarchal ruling. However, this melancholy statement in her soliloquy would have made the Jacobean audience to feel sympathetic towards Lady Macbeth as she is restricted from gaining these such simple rights from accessing power which men were able to access during the era. This would typically affect the women in society as they know how it feels to be controlled by the Patriarchal, implying this divide in gender.

Another way Shakespeare employs Lady Macbeth’s omnipotent antagonist in order to teach the Jacobean audience how women have power within them, but we’re confined by the Patriarchal as they were limited from these simple rights. Lady Macbeth is implied as malicious through the graphical imagery of “The raven himself is hoarse, that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements”. The noun “raven” is constructed to symbolise death as it further creates deathly connotations of Duncan’s “entrance”, foreshadowing the later events in Act 1. This highlights Lady Macbeth’s Machiavellian antagonist, exemplifying her ambitious character of removing her femininity and confiding it with masculine features in order to fill it with “the direst cruelty” and carry out the regicide sufficiently. The imperative verb of “my” again refers back to Shakespeare’s reference by constructing Lady Macbeth to indicate how women have power but were restricted from these simple rights due to the Patriarchal pushing it down. Furthermore, the adjective “fatal” highlights Lady Macbeth’s dominant antagonist as she constantly refers back to the possibility of her becoming Queen herself. This adjective further foreshadows the tragic denouement which is to come to her as a consequence of subverting the Patriarchal. This would have also warned the Jacobean audience of the consequences which lead to when challenging the Patriarchal as they are left to question their fate. This further refers back to Shakespeare’s intensional message on how women are capable of power, but were confined by the Patriarchal which limited their simple rights.

Additionally, Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth as an powerful women in order to teach the Jacobean audience that a women have the capability of handing power in society, but were forced to not use it due to the persuasion of the Patriarchal which limited their simple rights. Lady Macbeth’s powerfulness is evoked through her manipulation on her husband ‘Macbeth’ as she persuades him to “proceed in this business”. She gives him choices to live a king or “live a coward” which implies her powerful antagonist subverting the Patriarchal as she is challenging her husband which is higher up on the ruling than she is. Lady Macbeth is shown to emasculate her husband in order to almost use him as an “instrument” to gain her “desires”: Queen. This evokes her Machiavellian behaviour as she only cares about herself, feeling no remorse for others, including her husband. This would have feared the Jacobean audience as Lady Macbeth is subverting the patriarchal in order to be on the throne which would have made them to predict her fatal flaw in the denouement of the tragic play. This refers back to Shakespeare’s message to the Jacobean audience, implying how women are capable of having power, but were constricted of their simple rights which left them vulnerable and hopeless. This is why Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth’s dominant antagonist as she subverts the Patriarchal to gain these simple masculine privileges that everyone is entitled to so she doesn’t have to feel remorse. In the Jacobean era, women were portrayed as weary and vulnerable, whilst men were conveyed as “valiant” and bestial citizens in society as they were in control. This further dehumanises women in the era as women and men were both capable of such things, but women were stereotypically indicated as almost like peasants. This would have made the female Jacobeans to feel hatred towards men as they are soon to realise how society favouritism men over women.

Furthermore, Lady Macbeth is constructed as an omnipotent antagonist to emphasise how women are capable of handling power, but were restricted by the Patriarchal which limited their rights in society. Lady Macbeth is again implied to manipulate her husband ‘Macbeth’ to persuade him to do the regicide in order to make her become Queen herself and Macbeth as “king hereafter”. Lady Macbeth demands Macbeth to “look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it” when committing regicide on King Duncan. The purpose of the façade through Lady Macbeth’s commandment creates tension and mystery towards the current audience as it highlights how women are capable of power by subverting the Patriarchal. She is almost compelling him to mask his evilness within and put on his “innocent” face. However, the simile of the “innocent flower” can represent Macbeth’s ego, whilst the biblical metaphor alludes the Bible story of ‘Adam and Eve’ as the “serpent” is symbolic to pure evilness, portraying Lady Macbeth’s antagonist. It can be determined that Lady Macbeth can be classified as the “serpent” which feeds Eve, in this case “Macbeth”, the apple which can be symbolic to the “direct cruelty”. The plotters are represented by the “serpent” on the medal whilst the monarchies are represented by the “innocent flowers” Shakespeare is doing this in an obvious form of flattery of king James but also as a way to say look I’m completely loyal to you and therefore do not treat me with some kind of suspicion. This indication exemplifies Lady Macbeth’s omnipotent antagonist as she is almost baby feeding her husband her ambitious morality in order for Macbeth to commit regicide. She does this by subverting the Patriarchal to win back simple rights hat everyone is entitled to as this further links back to Shakespeare’s message of how women are capable of having power, but were restricted by the Patriarchal itself, limiting their simple rights as a human being.

The final way Shakespeare employs Lady Macbeth’s powerful women is through her manipulative quotation towards her husband, Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is implied to have emasculated Macbeth as she tells him that he is “too full o’ the milk of human kindness” in order to persuade him to gain more masculine to commit regicide. The use of hyperbole is constructed to indicate how Lady Macbeth’s ambitious character is eager to become Queen which highlights how powerful she is as she is challenging her husband by emasculating his masculine, leaving him to feel vulnerable as a man. Lady Macbeth is using him as an “instrument” in order to make the prophecy come true of Macbeth becoming “king hereafter” which also leads Lady Macbeth to become Queen. This further indicates her Machiavellian antagonist as she is indicated to become powerful enough in order to take political power over her husband and the “battlements”. This refers back to Shakespeare’s moral message of how women are capable of having power, but were confined by the Patriarchy, limiting their human rights. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that she’d rather “plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed its brains out had I so sworn as you have done to this”. These past participle violent verbs of “plucked” and “dashed” further emphasises Lady Macbeth’s powerful woman as she is challenging the Patriarchal by powering over her fate. These violent references to a baby illustrate a possibility of Lady Macbeth might have suffered from a miscarriage which may cause her to rather do this gruesome act than abandon a promise. If this so be true, this would compel Macbeth to “proceed in this business” as he would feel remorse for his “dearest love”. This would have made the Jacobean audience to also feel sympathy for Lady Macbeth as her malicious actions could have been caused by her miscarriage. This refers back to Shakespeare’s allegorical message towards the audience of how women are capable of power, but were pushed down by the Patriarchal ruling which limited their simple human rights. Shakespeare makes this connection to emphasise that even femininity can cause women to become powerful like men.

In conclusion, Shakespeare constructs Lady Macbeth as an powerful women in order to teach the Jacobean audience that women are capable of having power, but the Patriarchal ruling constricted this, leaving women vulnerable and weak. Lady Macbeth is employed through the play in order to exemplify what women would have been capable of if the Patriarchal did not restrict their rights from gaining such power. This is why Lady Macbeth is presented in the play as she shows the contemporary audience that the only way to win their freedom back is to subvert the ruling in society to just gain simple rights that everyone is entitled to.


In the Jacobean Era, it was considering subversive for a woman to have power - so they didn’t exactly praise it. But you can talk about how her actions of being in a position of power has led her to her paranoia and eventual demise as it teaches the Jacobean audience the dangers of Machiavellian politics and (and maybe how her loss of power fuelled Macbeth’s power and his death teaching the people of the jacobean era shows the ramifications of being a usurper).

youve based this correctly but on the wrong era. the contemporary audience would see this as woman empowerment which is now praised but for the Jacobean audience, it is seen as subverting gender norms.

also talk about how her place of power has broken (in a way) the divine right to rule.


also really dive into the quotes instead of showing connotations or denoting them or whatever.
hope this makes sense.
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 2
ah, this was my gcse lit paper question a few hours ago and you've executed this much better than i did.

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