In altered due to the juxtaposition of

In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the characterization of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, through the motif of gender roles, provides an understanding of the pivotal stereotypical roles that should be blended. In the Elizabethan era, there was no flexibility to gender preferences; people of this time were less forgiving. The dynamic of the relationship is altered due to the juxtaposition of the balance of power between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth causing the play to progress into a tragedy.  Lady Macbeth is initially motivated by greed and is a major influence on Macbeth to fulfill this necessity of hers. In order to achieve these goals, Lady Macbeth clouds Macbeth’s judgements and asks the unnatural spirits to “unsex her here,” (Shakespeare I.v.47), so she can be the dominant partner while still conforming to expected gender roles of this time. With this request, as Sigmund Freud stated, Lady Macbeth presents herself with “no hesitation, no sign of any internal conflict,” (Freud 1), and is “ready to sacrifice even her womanliness to her murderous intention,” (Freud 1). Following Macbeth’s actions, Lady Macbeth appeared unaffected by the murder of Duncan. The culmination of the events in Macbeth result in her deterioration of power and a strong mentality. Lady Macbeth retires her craving for jurisdiction and authority to madness as the guilt becomes too much for her to handle. Her demonstration of insanity generates an insecurity that becomes a weakness. The audience sees a transformation within Lady Macbeth that is consequential to Duncan’s murder.  Although opposite, Macbeth undergoes a similar progression as Lady Macbeth. In the beginning, Macbeth is easily and immensely manipulated by Lady Macbeth, creating a weak and inferior persona. The witches also gave Macbeth the necessary extra push to commit crimes because of his belief that one has no control over their life, that everything is bound to happen no matter what. Macbeth, as a firm believer in the unnatural world, comes to confide his actions in fate and holds an external locus of control. With guidance from the witches and his wife, Macbeth develops a determination to “dare do all that may become a man,” (Shakespeare I.vii.51-53). Continuing a demonstration of his weakness by succeeding his crime, he tells Lady Macbeth that he is “afraid to think what he has done,” (Shakespeare II.ii.69-70). Jarold Ramsey of Rice University believes that “Macbeth… is not capable of embracing the absolute freedom a whole hearted commitment to evil,” (Ramsey 295). This embodies Macbeth’s inner conflict of wanting the satisfaction of becoming powerful and while also having the guilt that comes with killing someone. Predicting the major shift in Macbeth’s attitude to overconfidence, Hectate says that “security is a mortal’s chiefest enemy,” (Shakespeare III.v.33). Ceasing his fear of Lady Macbeth and guilt, Macbeth concludes the novel with an empowered persona that allows for him to succumb to the evil that pushes him to kill again. Macbeth establishes a weak and ‘unmanly’ identity in the beginning, only for it to be altered by his actions, transforming him into a crazed addict of power and ambition.  As Macbeth and Lady Macbeth transform throughout the story, the dynamic of their relationship is altered and the balance of power is shifted from one to the other. As previously stated, the power initially laid in Lady Macbeth’s hands. She was manipulative and controlling in order to persuade Macbeth to do what she wanted. She presented a dominant lead in the relationship because of her ambition to become queen, which is why she demands Macbeth to “give her the daggers,” (Shakespeare II.ii.73-75), while Macbeth is showing weakness. She later questions Macbeth’s masculinity with “are you a man?” (Shakespeare III.iv.73). He responds to Lady Macbeth’s remark by telling her that “If trembling I inhabit then, protest me the baby of a girl,” (Shakespeare III.iv.130-131). This marks the turning point for Macbeth in which his motivations have been corrupted by Lady Macbeth’s. He begins to become just as ambitious, if not more, as she started out as and continues on to have zero compassion for her. Macbeth’s drive causes him to plot the murder of Banquo, Fleance, and Macduff’s family without Lady Macbeth’s help. He has become independent of her and while he is now the dominant one, Lady Macbeth has become insecure about her incapability to influence her spouse. The influence these two characters have on each other cause “Macbeth to become a tragic villain,” (Ramsey 295). The transformations that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth face in Macbeth generate a progression and transition of the balance of power. Lady Macbeth brings her dominant and overwhelming control to her relationship, while Macbeth brings his insecure and easily influenced mindset. The play takes a turn at the climax with the death of Duncan and independence of Macbeth, resulting in a dominant male role from Macbeth and a guilty, concerned Lady Macbeth. The stereotypical gender roles that are demonstrated in Macbeth represent the gender role preferences of the Elizabethan era and contribute to the sociocultural evolution of our society