Macbeth and Manfulness

“We are men my liege” “Ay in the catalogue ye go for men; as hounds, greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept all by the name of dogs.” While Macbeth is manipulated to go through with the murder of King Duncan by his wife Lady Macbeth, here he is using some manipulative language of his own. The men he speaks to don’t need much convincing, but he still finds it necessary to sputter loquacious persuasions as he wants to make sure they go through with his orders. He appeals to their sense of manhood, “In the catalogue ye go for men,” the same route that his wife took against him earlier in the play when she goaded, “When you durst do it, then you were a man!” Macbeth understands how impugning his manhood galvanized him into action and so he decides to use this technique on others. The interesting thing is that he is calling their manhood into question while the whole reason behind the offing of Banquo and his son is out of cowardly paranoia, “Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared.” The very nature of what Macbeth is doing by hiring hit men is cowardly and hypocritical according to being “not in the worst rank of manhood,” and he must bear the brunt of his final days against his final foes all alone, as Lady Macbeth can’t bear being a witness to such a cowhearted crumbling of her King.


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