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The Role Of Women In Shakespeare’s Macbeth

The roles of women in Shakespeare’s plays are very unique and important. Women act independently from men and have their own feelings and thoughts. They can impact the story through the use of their words and also their actions. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the character of Lady Macbeth is shown to be ambitions but also full of guilt, which eventually leads to her downfall. The first time that Lady Macbeth displayed her ambitions was in act one scene five. This was the scene when Lady Macbeth reads the letter from Macbeth stating his encounter with the Weird Sisters and what they said about his future. After reading about the Weird Sisters saying that Macbeth was going to be king, Lady Macbeth started to get excited and the desire for Macbeth…show more content…
One night, while Lady Macbeth was sleepwalking, she started making regretful remarks about the deaths that have occurred because she knows that she was the one that caused them. This was when her guilty conscience started kicking in and due to this, she started to feel bad for everything she has done. “The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all with this starting (5.1.44-47). This quote shows that Lady Macbeth was starting to feel guilty for her actions because she asks when her hands will ever be cleaned, which signifies that she still can’t forget about all the people that she has killed. While she was saying this, she kept rubbing her hands together as if she was trying to clean them and wash away the guilt that was overwhelming her. Another example in this section that showed her guilt was when Lady Macbeth started to hallucinate and see blood on her hands. “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. O, O, O!” (5.1.53-55). This quote describes how Lady Macbeth starts to see blood on her hands and completely loses her mind. Due to this hallucination, it is clear that her guilt is becoming out of control and how she also has a ton of remorse for all the deaths that have

European Colonialism and Imperialism in Shakespeare’s The Tempest

European Colonialism and Imperialism in Shakespeare’s The Tempest

William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest reveals how ideologies of racial ‘otherness’ served to legitimize European patriarchal hegemony in Elizabethan England. In the Elizabethan/ Jacobean times of England there were many relevant ideologies relevant to this play. In examining the values and ideologies this text endorses and challenges, the society of the time (Elizabethan England), and a knowledge of how it operated serves a great purpose in analyzing these relationships. As in many texts of this time, Shakespeare is endorsing many ideologies of his time, and, although many have labelled him ahead of his time in many respects in his writing, he is, essentially writing from the Elizabethan or Jacobean point of view and time. The Tempest endorses the inequitable relationships between races based upon the belief of European superiority. The representation of race and ethnicity in The Tempest reveals a text that is awash with imperialist European ideologies.

In a play which usurpation is a dominant theme, Shakespeare endorses Prospero’s appropriation of the island and it’s aboriginal population. The representation of Caliban and his brother Sycorax reveals the extent to which racist and sexist ideologies function to maintain the balance of power in the hands of a small, ruling, elite. Indeed, it should be noted that The Tempest is more than a simple play. Rather, it is a complex and multi-layered literary construction. As it cannot be reduced to the single issue of race to investigate the imbalance of power in the play. Attention must be given to the way patriarchal notions of gender inform racial representations in order to understand the imbalances of power i…

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…. An investigation into the imbalance of power in the play reveals the ideologies of race and gender that drive the power dynamics of the play. The construction of the inferior nature of non-European characters is firmly grounded in imperialist, European and patriarchal values.

The Tempest presents the appropriation of the island and it’s inhabitants by Prospero’s imperial patriarchal regime as entirely natural and inevitable, based upon the inherent inferiority of the original population. In doing so, the play is a precise repetition of imperialist rhetoric, which legitimizes European annexation of ‘other’ lands and peoples over which they have no legitimate claim.

Bibliography/ Works Cited

Shakespeare, W. The Tempest. Ed. Sutherland, J.R. (1990)

G. Wilson Knight, (1932) The Shakespearean Tempest, Oxford

B. Thompson, (1995) Notes on The Tempest

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