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English Literature - Macbeth > Gender quotes > Flashcards

Flashcards in Gender quotes Deck (3)
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1

Explain the quote: "Come, you spirits...unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty" A1 S5

Lady Macbeth states that her womanhood is making her weak and demands the spirits to make her more masculine. She needs to be filled with cruelty like a man in order to have enough courage to murder Duncan. Women were seen as weak and fragile in the Jacobean Era and Lady Macbeth admits to this, however she is the only woman who wants to get rid of this fragility, therefore she is challenging the ways women were portrayed in the Jacobean era.

2

Explain the quote: “I am so much a fool, should I stay longer It would be my disgrace and your discomfort” - A4 S2

Ross explains to a distressed Lady Macduff that he must leave or else he will begin to cry, which would be
unmanly and make her uncomfortable. This interaction is significant because it is a complete contrast to Macbeth and his wife. Ross is a true man who, according to custom, cannot cry in front of an emotional woman. It is used to emphasize and differentiate the roles of the Macbeths in order to show the way men and women were to behave at that time.

3

Explain the quote: "Tis not for you to hear what I can speak: The repetition in a woman's ear, Would murder as it fell" - A2 S3

Macduff says this to Lady Macbeth and is implying that he can't tell her of the murder as woman are too fragile and frail, she won't be able to handle the knowledge of the murder. This is ironic because Lady Macbeth planned the murder and is very much masculine.