Ambivalent Macbeth
Ambivalent Macbeth
R.S. White
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781743325483

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.

R.S. White is Winthrop professor of English at the University of Western Australia and chief investigator at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions 1100-1800.

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