AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume4, Number1. February  2020                     Pp.  131-140

Does she look like the innocent flower but become the serpent underneath ?

College of Languages and Translation
Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Abstract PDF

Renaissance’s society used to bring into play an ad nauseam cliché “a woman’s place is the home”. However, Lady Macbeth, one of William Shakespeare’s dramatic characters, represents an image of the powerful woman. Because she enabled her husband Macbeth to ascend the throne of Scotland. This is when she urges him to commit a crime. Accordingly, Lady Macbeth was labeled as a femme fatale and a disastrous woman. However, when Macbeth becomes the king she switched to the role of the submissive wife. Contemporary readers would feel ambivalent toward Lady Macbeth’s feminity; she is a mix of both a powerful woman and a formidable villain. Lady Macbeth’s dilemma, in a nutshell, is that she is a disastrous wife to urge her husband to kill the king and she is a faint-hearted woman to feel guilty and let the pang of conscience destroy her mind. Thus, Lady Macbeth ends up marginalized, the same as her Renaissance counterparts. Correspondingly, this paper focuses on the connection of Lady Macbeth’s demonic nature with gender discrimination and the misogynist attitude of Shakespeare. Bias against Lady Macbeth, here, is not just a product of individual male thought but is the result of the pervasive social norm of early modern patriarchy. The main methodological approach of this paper is the cultural study of the sixteenth-century feminism. Thus, interdisciplinary theory of feminist perspective in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as well as the historical study of the marginalized Renaissance women are applied to probe into the reality of misogyny and negative representation of women in Shakespearean drama as alluring and evil figures. Therefore, the focused question within this none-thesis is why Shakespearean female characters, mainly including Lady Macbeth, are prejudicially undermined. In the end, the paper urges other researches to apply the sociological study of female power within Shakespeare’s other plays to find out how all of the Shakespearean heroines are subordinate; following the Elizabethan social norm of disempowering women.

Cite as:

 ALRaznah, H. (2020). “Does she look like the innocent flower but become the serpent underneath ?”: The Femme Fatal Lady Macbeth in the Misogynist Macbeth . Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies. 4 (1) 131-140.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol4no1.10


Huriyyah ALRaznah is a lecturer of English Literature at Shaqra University, Saudi Arabia. She majored in Crime Fiction, particularly implication of medico- psychology, and criminology in literature. She is author of “The Truth May Well Turn Out To Be More Stranger Than we
Think”: The “Whydunit” in Agatha Christie’s A Pocket Full of Rye. ORCID iD https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6679-8201