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Lady Macbeth, the “wife” holding the sceptre in the marriage, was against the “chain of being”, a prominent philosophy of the15th Century. The philosophy follows the essential need for the “natural order”, which places men at the top of the order. Shakespeare paints the capricious and powerful Lady Macbeth,hinting to the audience the inevitable doom of her character as she is an abomination to the “order”. Moreover Shakespeare shows the audience the inability of women to carry out independent actions. For Lady Macbeth to carry out her plans, she feels she must pray that the gods “unsex” her. Even then, it is not her intent to carry out the murder of Duncan herself, but to spur on her husband to “catch the nearest way.” The phallocentric society is screaming through the text as it blatantly conveys that only men can take such gruesome actions, let alone think of them.
And the irony of this attempt to masculate herself is highlighted by the fact that she was trying to be the ‘good and dutiful’ wife, working towards the success of her husband, with no selfish motives behind her actions. This can also be identified through the absence of any expressed desire to become the “Queen of Scotland” in the play.

In Macbeth, among other Shakespearean plays and Elizabethan literary works, there was a stark demarcation between what a man and what a woman should be. To be ‘manly’ is to be aggressive,, bold, resolute, and strong. To be ‘womanly’ is to be gentle, fearful,wavering, and soft.That machismo in men was a cultural virtue during the Elizabethan epoch, from which springs Lady Macbeth’s strikes at Macbeth’s “milk of human kindness”. Shakespeare explicitly portrays how an exchange in the characteristics of men and women, makes the individual weak in the eyes of the society. Like how Macbeth is considered weak by Lady Macbeth,this holds true for Lady Macbeth  as well when the female character having power and aggressiveness is seen as an antagonistic character.

Despite Lady Macbeth’s desire to be more like a man for the task at hand, she proves to be still the weak female when it comes to the actual deed. She needs wine to maintain her courage. As she says, “That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold”. She thinks of killing Duncan herself when she has the daggers in her hands, but holds back, saying, “Had he not resembled/My father as he slept, I had done ‘t”. 

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