— Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Aww, come off anon, I won’t bit your head off, promise.
I agree with you, and I do remember how society was in the time he wrote what he did so it could certainly be taken as his simply illustrating how society at that time portrayed women.
What ticked me off is this:
“What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou’ldst have, great Glamis,
That which cries ‘Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
And that which rather thou dost fear to do
Than wishest should be undone.’ Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown’d withal. ” (1.4).
Here, Lady Macbeth, upon reading Macbeth’s letter to here proclaims that he it too “full of the milk of human kindness” to be able to ‘be a man and act’, as in, a mother’s milk, as in woman. And of course mothers are generally extremely kind, but this here is her saying as if to be kind is to not be a man and it is a weakness.
And then she calls in spirits to take away her sex and all of it’s ‘qualities’- stereotypical qualities- so she can be ‘strong like a man’ and ‘act’ which according to the play is the essence of masculinity, to ‘act’ when it is needed.
Which rubs me the wrong way because women are fully capable of acting and when they do, it is not their ‘manly’ side, it is them, as women.
There is also the matter of Lady Macduff and her being a stereotypical ‘helpless’ woman, unable to do anything or defend herself because she has lost her husband. A lot of women have been in more dire situations and have managed to keep themselves and their child safe, but that strength is usually ‘forgotten’.
There is also Hecate and the witches. Hecate is the only ‘deity’ who appears in the play and she and the witches are made to be evil, as if all women who truly possess power are only capable of great evil.
Because the play Macbeth, that’s why.