Ambivalent Macbeth

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Macbeth is often read in a singular fashion: either as a cautionary morality tale warning against ambition, or as a psychological study of evil. In Ambivalent Macbeth, renowned Shakespeare scholar R. S. White argues that these differing readings result from a profoundly ambivalent play, and that this quality is a clue to its greatness. White explores how radical ambivalence permeates the atmosphere, imagery, themes and characterisation of ‘the Scottish play’. He considers Shakespeare’s historical context and source material, and examines key cinematic, theatrical and other adaptations of the play. Throughout, he argues that an open-minded acceptance of ambivalence can inspire a multitude of readings, and that this complexity helps to explain the play’s intriguing longevity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherSydney University Press
Number of pages221
ISBN (Print)9781743325483
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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