Manhood in Macbeth

The theme of manhood is reoccurring in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In the play, Shakespeare uses manhood to stress the deeds involved with being king of Scotland, such as the regicide of King Duncan. Shakespeare’s vivid descriptions and dialogue help the reader to grasp the intended meaning of manhood being put forth at different times in the play.   In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses different definitions of manhood, all of which are shown through changing characters, to contemplate the true meaning of manhood itself. In the play, Manhood is displayed through Lady Macbeth, sorrow, indecision as a man, and manly readiness.
Manhood occurs in a multitude of ways throughout Macbeth, one type of Manhood is displayed by Lady Macbeth. In the play, Lady Macbeth often times acts as the manager of Macbeth, and displays a sense of manhood. “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/Of direst cruelty!” (I.V. 40-43). This quote displays Lady Macbeth’s idea that manhood is related solely to a strong urge of determination, and nothing else. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth shows her lack of feminine characteristics, and therefore displays a more manly stature. The critic, Maria Howell, in her book, Manhood and Masculine Identity in William Shakespeare's the Tragedy of Macbeth, seems to think that Lady Macbeth’s manliness just gets in the way. “Lady Macbeth becomes the embodiment of patriarchal fears of feminine desire that threatens the masculine will of imperative and action, and thus his power and authority” (Howell 12). The imperative will of action is the idea, that man will always make strong choices, even when times aren’t well. In life today, this is a very common idea for many women to behold, since in the past, men made all the choices. This is seen in the play when Lady Macbeth is forced to arrange the aspects of the regicide of King Duncan, because Macbeth is unable to do so.
Another way that manhood is...