Psychoanalytical Criticism of Lady Macbeth Essay

1649 Words 7 Pages
Psychoanalytical criticism is a form of literary critique, which uses some of the techniques of psychoanalysis in the interpretation of literature. The focus of this essay is to use Psychoanalytical criticism while analyzing Lady Macbeth’s character in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. However, before I begin my examination of Lady Macbeth’s character, I feel that concept of psychoanalytical theory needs some introduction.

One of the more prevalent Psychoanalytical theorists after Freud was Jacques Lacan. Cristina Leon Alfar’s essay "'Blood Will Have Blood': Power, Performance, and Lady Macbeth's Gender Trouble," provides a meticulous analysis of Lacan’s psychoanalytical theory. Alfar asserts that the idea of both sexes is based on
…show more content…
Consequently, Lacan’s theory of the Other requires that femininity compels women’s rejection of her own desires, based on cultural mandates, in favor of the desires of the Other—the male subject (Alfar 183).

Lacan then turns his focus to that of the unconscious and the use and structure of language. He claims that the unconscious influences our behavior, actions, identities, and desires. According to Lacanian theory, the dialectic of one’s desire is based on one object symbolizing another, which is only a substitute for another. Lacan argues that the unconscious is shaped like the structure of language and language does not shape our identities and desire so much as our identities and desires are acquired from language (Richter1021, 1046). Lacan also explores the use of metonymy, and he describes this concept as mode of symbolization in which one word or phrase is signified by another that is associated with the overall meaning. Lacan then asserts that the subject is now ruled by language, and this discourse forms the structures of cultural and social identities (Richter 1046).

Lacan’s psychoanalytic theories can be readily applied to the character Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. When Macbeth’s dark tragedy was written in the beginning

Related Documents