Psychoanalysis and Feminism In ‘’Macbeth’’ by William Shakespeare

Psychoanalysis and feminism In ‘’ Macbeth’’ William Shakespeare is one of the best writers of the Renaissance. He is unforgettable person and admired by young and older people. His works are used in mass media and popular culture. His plays are always alive in art, television, theatre. In the essay there would be discussed the most popular female character found in his play ” Macbeth”- Lady Macbeth. She is an extraordinary example of the person who was analysed by psychoanalysis. One of the person who wrote about her case is Karin Thomson in the essay “ Psychoanalytical Criticism”.

Also I would like to pay attention to the notion of feminism in Lady Macbeth. The case is discussed in the essay wrote by and dr. Caroline Cakebread in “ Macbeth and Feminism “ . Firstly, I would like to focus on feminism presented in the attitude of Lady Macbeth. ‘’ 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” ( 1. 5. 39-42) Lady Macbeth want to be strong, independent, more ruthless, and more ambitious than her husband. She want to achieve power by acceptance of traditionally masculine qualities.

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She seems fully aware of this and knows that she will have to push Macbeth into committing murder. At one point, she wishes that she were not a woman so that she could do it herself. The relationship between gender and power is key to Lady Macbeth’s character. She is a masculine soul inhabiting a female body, which seems to link masculinity to ambition and violence. According to Caroline Cakebread “… femininity is not an attribute to be equated with power and , in the murder of Duncan, feminine attributes lead to virtual erasure in terms of power politics. . Lady Macbeth is a crafty woman, power is for her manipulation to further her supposedly male ambitions. She manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections. Her remarkable strength of will persists through the murder of the king. Caroline Cakebread assumes that in the play Lady Macbeth ‘’represents a shift from the passive masculinity she associates with the weak men in the play to a power position which resonates with a sense of material evil’’.

Secondly, it is important to mention about psychoanalysis of Lady Macbeth. It is connected with her unconscious and conscious state. According to Karin Thomson,” Isador H Coriat, states that she is not “a criminal type or an ambitious woman but the victim of a pathological mental dissociation arising upon an unstable daydreaming basis … due to the emotional shocks of her past experiences. ” Everything is caused by past experience connected with loss of her child. She presents her as a queen and put and heir on the throne, as compensation for childlessness.

She tries to define her and husband’s sexual roles. Lady Macbeth is presented as extremely isolated person. She has no companion, no female confidence or children. She is only concentrated on her husband. In tragedy she is his “dearest partner of greatness” . She is different than her husband, he needs of the state, society and friendship and it is prominent for him. Analyzing her actions this kind of isolation leads her to self-centeredness, hysteria , as shown by her reaction to Macbeth’s letter.

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Psychoanalysis and Feminism In ‘’Macbeth’’ by William Shakespeare. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from