Husband wife normLady Macbeth explores the stereotypical gender roles of society and challenges gender norms.
While we are first introduced to her character, it is evident that she exerts dominance and power over her submissive husband, Macbeth. When Macbeth is hesitant on how to manage King Duncan’s visit, Lady Macbeth instantly seizes control of the situation stating she will ‘handle tonights preparations’. This dominance trait is not a typical female quality and so further emphasizes her grit in the relationship. Men are usually portrayed as assertive to handling situations which obviously doesn’t seem to be the case for the Macbeth’s. AmbitionAnother gender role reversal can be seen in terms of ambition. Although both characters crave power, Lady Macbeth is recognised as the driving force of the murder. When Lady Macbeth receives the letter sent from Macbeth, she is already plotting a murderous plan, although she fears her husband is too full of “th’ milk of human kindness” to take the steps necessary to usurp the throne. Her resolve is to convince her husband to do whatever is required to seize the crown.
She begs evil spirits to ‘unsex’ her here and fill her with ‘direst cruelty’. She is willing to spurn her natural femininity so that she can do the bloody deeds necessary to gain immediate power. Her ambition and strength of will dwarfs that of her husband and is the opposite to the typical man and women norm as the man is seen as authoritative and brave with the wife having a nurturing and loving role inferior to man.
Lady Macbeth’s alpha dominant role in the relationship means that Macbeth is easily manipulated and influenced towards his wife, as we know he succumbs to his wifes persuasion.