Shakespeare's Macbeth is a tragedy that embodies the polarities of male and female power, a play which seems to dramatize the deep divisions that characterize male-female relationships in all his plays. As Janet Adelman writes, "In the figures of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and the witches, the play gives us images of a masculinity and a femininity that are terribly disturbed." At the same time, critics have tended to discuss the relationship between Macbeth and
the beginning of the play, to the presence of
For many feminist critics, however, the opinion of Freud and other critics that Macbeth is merely a victim of feminine plotting is an unsatisfactory response to this play. On the most basic level, it is Macbeth who actually murders the king while
A more fruitful approach would be a closer examination of the different types of women who are being represented throughout the play, rather than viewing the women en masse, as part of a dark and evil force "ganging up" on Macbeth. Indeed, feminist criticism can help to point the way towards a clearer understanding of the sort of society Shakespeare is portraying in this tragedy.
Terry Eagle ton points out his belief that "the witches are the heroines of the piece",
As the most fertile force in the play, the...