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CLT 2017-32

Unsex me here” Lady Macbeth as a Disruptive Force in Macbeth
Saman Ali Mohammed 
Department of EnglishLanguage, University of Human Development

Abstract- "William Shakespeare‟s Macbeth was most likely written in 1606, three years into the reign of James I, James VI of Scotland since 1567 before he achieved the English throne in 1603. Macbeth is Shakespeare‟s shortest tragedy yet it is one of his most influential and emotionally intense plays. Macbeth portrays “the paralyzing, almost complete destruction of human spirit” (Shanley 307). Like most of Shakespeare‟s plays, Macbeth deals with the question of kingship and portrays the “problems of legitimacy and succession” surrounding serious political power that belonged to the monarch, the court and the royal councils (Hadfield 27). Numerous historical and literary studies have been conducted about various topics in Macbeth such as human desire, cruelty, and guilt. Gender role and its relation with power also have a great significance to the interpretation of the play. Shakespeare substantially emphasizes the male-female relationship and gender dynamic and does not seem to treat gender simply as binary example of male/female. Shakespeare shows the relationship between gender and power which can be related to the patriarchal discourse of early modern England. He portrays women as major determinants in men‟s actions but “their function varies throughout the canon” and also in distinct categories of either “good or evil, victims or monsters” (Berggren 18, 11). Men are portrayed as strong willed and courageous, but female character like Lady Macbeth is also given a ruthless, power-hungry personality, which is typically, in the period, more associated with masculinity. Lady Macbeth, one of the main characters in Macbeth, is deeply ambitious and her role is essentially important to further understanding Shakespeare‟s presentation of female characters. In this paper, I will provide a brief context of Macbeth in terms of contemporary issues about sovereignty. I will closely examine the role of women in Macbeth, precisely Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth‟s downfall, particularly focusing on how and why Lady Macbeth is an unsettling and disruptive force to the order of the sovereignty. The paper will cover the contemporary issue of witchcraft, to suggest that Lady Macbeth‟s gender can be associated with supernatural subversion, as well as sexual temptation and the period‟s perspective about it. The paper discusses masculinity in relation to Lady Macbeth and the relationship between the plays actions and the natural order to suggest that natural order better reveals Lady Macbeth‟s disruption as well as the notion of monster in Macbeth. This essay will end by discussing the significance of the events that happen to both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after the murder act and a conclusion."

Kewords-Witchcraft, Patriarchy, Maternity, Sovereignty, Order, Power, Ambition,Femininity
Date: 10/12/2017   14:00:00
Place: Hall 176