Psychoanalytical Criticism of Macbeth

1170 WordsJun 15, 20185 Pages
Psychoanalytical criticism is a form of literary critique, which uses some of the techniques of psychoanalysis in the interpretation of literature. One of the more prevalent Psychoanalytical theorists after Freud was Jacques Lacan. In his text, “The Signification of the Phallus,” asserts that the idea of both sexes are based on the male “being” and the female “having” the phallus, and these two differences determine the relations between the sexes while also bringing them together. For Lacan, the phallus for males represents power, authority, and desire while for females the phallus signifies lack of power and agency (182). Another important text by Lacan is “The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud.” This text…show more content…
I would argue, however, that Lady Macbeth's "unsex me here" speech tends to deconstruct gender categories, unfixing the rigid cultural distinctions as well as attributes which define male and female” (Chamberlain 79). Lady Macbeth wants the spirits to “unsex [her] here” not because she wants to be transformed into a man, but rather she desires the same male characteristics as her husband which are associated with violence. Alfar claims, “If she does indeed transgress her gender to become more manly, therefore, it is because she must do so to reflect—as conduct manuals demand—the bloody desire of her husband (181). After returning home from the battlefield, Macbeth consciously ponders murdering his king. However, his loyalty to the crown overtakes his hidden desire, and he resolves: “If chance will have me king, why, chance / may crown me / Without my stir (1.3) Macbeth then informs Lady Macbeth that he is not will to commit regicide. Upon hearing that Macbeth has disregarded his “black and deep desires,” Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to go through with the deed: Was the hope drunk Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since? And wakes it now, to look so green and pale At what it did so freely? From this time Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valor As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to commit treason by
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