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"The Hysteria of Lady Macbeth"

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Ariana Bengtson

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of "The Hysteria of Lady Macbeth"

"The Hysteria of Lady Macbeth"
Main Idea
Lady Macbeth suffered from hysteria. She claimed to desire the throne, but used such ideas to cover her true desires for a child. Ultimately, as she suppresses her true thoughts her mind gradually takes control and she is a victim to her own mind.
Character Development
Lady Macbeth suppresses cowardice and presents a brave and powerful front
She "represses her natural cowardice from consciousness"
Dreams of becoming queen- thoughts of ambition and having a son gradually surface
Middle (King Duncan's Murder):
Her repressed thoughts can't be controlled- uses alcohol to suppress them
Remains to struggle with fake brave facade
She inevitably sleep walks- all her thoughts escape
Ducan, Banquo, and Macuff's family's murders all come to fruition (washing hands, smelling blood, etc..)
"Frees" herself from the suppressed thoughts by suicide
Imaginary vs. Reality
imaginary wishes to be queen, have a child
acts on these in reality, can't distinguish between the two
Free will vs. determination
determination overcomes her free will
attempts to repress emotions, they come out in her sleepwalking
she can't chose her actions, her unconscious self does
desires to have a child, line of kings
ambition drives her to hysteria
The author shows how different motifs convey Lady Macbeth's hysteria
Subconscious vs. Conscious Thought
Lady Macbeth repetitively burst out "suppressed complexes into speech" throughout the play.
Rejection of Sex (Substitution)
Substitution- "a sublimation or transformation of sexual complex into ambition, a mechanism which is frequently found in hysteria"
She tries to separate herself from the tragedy many times during the play
"From the very mechanism of this mental state, such a development was inevitable. She is not the victim of blind fate or destiny or punished by moral law, but affected by a mental disease."
This article helped us better understand Shakespeare. The author's central argument is that Shakespeare was fully aware that Lady Macbeth had symptoms of hysteria, and that he did this purposely.
By: Ariana Bengtson, Kayla Jacunski, Bethany Re, and Jessica Weaver
• Lady Macbeth’s ambition drives her to take part in the murder of Duncan
• Conflicts intensify as the play goes on: Lady Macbeth has less and less control over her actions as her hysteria begins to take over
• Duncan’s Murder: Purely based on ambition
• Banquo’s Murder: Based on both ambition and hysteria; this was much more panicked and much less planned out than Duncan’s murder
• Influences Macbeth to be able to complete such deeds with little trouble in order to maintain their power (murder of Macduff’s family)
• By the end, Lady Macbeth has lost complete control of her actions as she has allowed her mental disorder to completely take over
• Power of the mind: convinces herself that she is brave when she really isn’t; helps feed into her ability to act so quickly upon the conflicts presented to her; gets deeper and deeper into these conflicts, making them much greater than they originally were, feeding into her hysteria and eventually leading to her suicide
Full transcript