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The Power Of The Feminine In Macbeth. This Essay Explores The Roles Of Lady Macbeth And The Witches In The Original Play, The Kurosawa Film Entitled Throne Of Blood, And The Polanski Film Version

2102 words - 9 pages

The Power of the Feminine in MacbethIn the play and both film versions of Shakespeare's Macbeth, women are given a fairly large amount of agency or power. Interestingly enough, the women control not only their own destiny, but also that of our hero himself, Macbeth. Femininity, particularly that of the maternal, is a very widely used theme in the play and films. However it represents not only the nurture and support of a mother, but also a more terrifying aspect of womanhood- one of deceit, manipulation, and power.The prominent female figures are the witches and Lady Macbeth. The three witches in the tragedy are introduced right at the beginning of the play and the brief opening scenes give ...view middle of the document...

She can manipulate Macbeth easily. This is shown in act 1 scene 5:"That I may pour my spirits in thine ear"She is convinced early on in the play that she has power over MacBeth's thoughts. Before the speech that Lady Macbeth gives in act one scene five, Macbeth is resolved not to go through with the killing of the king. However, Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth's self-esteem by playing on his manliness and his bravery. This then convinces Macbeth to commit the murder. It is like a child who is easily guided by the woman he trusts and loves, his mother. Lady Macbeth knows this and uses it to her advantage. She is the dominating individual in the relationship, it seems that she can convince him to do anything as long as she pushes the right buttons. Her manipulative powers are especially shown in act 1 scene 7 line 39 when she says:" Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valour, as thou art in desire?"She challenges his character by asking him whether he has the courage of his convictions to achieve what he desires, again she is playing on his courage and bravery to try and manipulate him into killing Duncan.On the other hand, as the play progresses, and Duncan is killed, there is a reversal of natural order, and Macbeth becomes the dominating partner again. Lady Macbeth becomes subservient. She becomes pathetic and only a shadow of her former self. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have high ambitions that drive them. Lady Macbeth's ambition drives her to manipulate Macbeth into committing the crimes. Macbeth's fierce ambition is present before the witches' prophesies, yet he would never have thought seriously about killing Duncan without the witches or Lady Macbeth. The combination of his ambitious nature, the initial prophecies and his wife's influence lead him to kill the king.The Roman Polanski version of the film somewhat depicts this feminine power, however he chooses to not make it as apparent as Shakespeare or Kurosawa. The very beginning of the film features the witches, showing their importance and significance. As they bury their foreshadowing treasure, the old blind witch pours blood on the sand as the conclusion of whatever black ceremony they had just performed. This blood not only represents the death and destruction that is about to occur, but also the menstrual blood of a woman. The blood is used to as if to seal the spell, to give it the power to work. They also add blood as the final ingredient to the potion they mix for Macbeth to drink. However the blood is not cooked in with the potion, but added raw to the cup right before he drinks so as not to loose any of it's potency or power.The most powerful of the witches is the blind woman. Although she cannot see, she still seems to be all knowing and all-powerful. She is drawing her power from some other source, a feminine source that Macbeth could never understand. The young blond witch represents the more sexual side of women. She is fairly attractive and sexually...

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