The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare is the storyof a great hero and his rise to kinghood. Although Macbeth was an establishedwar hero and cruel king, his eventual ruin becomes the theme of the book; and itall could have been avoided were it not for his fragile ego and frail conceptof bravery. His impressionable personality and skewed views allow the witchesand Lady Macbeth to manipulate him and this becomes his demise. When time comes for King Duncan to arrive at the castle LadyMacbeth begins her monologue. She says, “Come you spirits/That tend on mortalthoughts, unsex me here/And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/Ofdirest cruelty.
” By saying “unsex me here” Lady M. is more or less asking to beremoved of her sex, or perhaps, her sexuality for she fears it may prevent herfrom completing the task. This enforces the perception that men should be thestronger of the two sexes. For if a lady is asking spirits and witches to abolishher femininity one might assume being a woman is particularly laborious andconstricting, when in reality she is the true puppet master – not her husband.After this particular example she continues her soliloquy saying, “Come to mywoman’s breasts/And take my milk for gall,” Gall, quite literally, is animalbile; but one might think of it as bitter poison in this context.
In asking forher milk to be replaced with something so vile she is further ridding herselfof all motherly and nurturing actions. Acting falsely on the assumption thatone can’t be tough and have feminine aspects at the same time. Both of thesequotations fortify the strong gender roles implicated in the book. If LadyMacbeth didn’t feel so strongly about both her and Macbeth playing a certainrole, she wouldn’t have been able to manipulate him to the fullest extent andour hero may still be alive. When Macbeth first encounters the witches they give him whatone would see as an intensly promising prophecy: they say, “All hail, Macbeth,that shalt be king hereafter!”