Saturday, October 26, 2019

Psychoanalytical Criticism Essay -- Psychology, Freud, Lacan

Psychoanalytical criticism is a form of literary critique, which uses some of the techniques of psychoanalysis in the interpretation of literature. Lacanian critics examine psychoanalytic phases such as the Symbolic and apply this phase while interpreting literary texts. Lacanian critics also associate the literary work’s content to broader Lacanian concepts, such as the Phallic and the Other. The focus of this essay is to apply these psychoanalytical techniques while interpreting Lady Macbeth’s character in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. However, before I begin my argument, I feel that Lacan’s concepts of psychoanalytical theory need some introduction. One of the more prevalent psychoanalytical theorists since Freud was Jacques Lacan and I will use Lacan’s â€Å"The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud† as a starting point to explain some of his concepts of psychoanalytical thought. First of all, Lacan created three different categories to explain the subject’s transformation from infant to adulthood, namely need, demand, and desire and labeled these three psychoanalytic orders, as the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real. Lacan claims that during the Symbolic stage the child is initiated to language, and the unconscious and repression appear in the psyche. The child now learns that words symbolize objects, and he must use language and not images in order to acquire what he desires (Richter1021). Within the Symbolic, there is metonymy which is a mode of symbolization in which one word or phrase is signified by another that is associated with the overall meaning (Richter 1046). A secondary element in Symbolic is â€Å"the discourse Other† (with a capital O). The concept of Other is not clear or simple sinc... ...ole. Because Lady Macbeth must adhere to the Lacanian concept of â€Å"having† the Phallus, her dialogue and actions are based on her abandoning her own desires to ensure that Macbeth’s desires are fulfilled. In this light, Shakespeare exposes the complex dynamics of gender and power through representation of a ruthless female character who reproduces the violent practices of masculinist order through the Other. Therefore, Lady Macbeth’s encouragement of Macbeth to commit regicide corresponds to the violent structure of the period. Although critics have labeled Lady Macbeth’s character as a source of evil within the play, I have shown that Lady Macbeth’s dialogue and actions find their brutal source in both the monarchical and gender construction of power already in place rather than in the primitive and naturalized axiom of female good versus evil.

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