Macbeth as Sceptic Medium, December 10th

Wednesday 10 December, 4.15pm
Room 311, University of Westminster, Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Dr Nigel Mapp, University of Westminster
“The very painting of your fear”: Macbeth as Sceptic Medium

Any convincing account of agency – one that does not, for instance, sceptically limit responsibility to intentions – must see it as theatrical. Deeds are socially expressed and corrigible. What then of Macbeth’s theatricality? The play seems to offer a drastically over-determined picture of agency – of who does and decides to do what, and why. But what sort of “picture” of a dismantled significance is this? The paper considers the question in terms of Macbeth’s Stoic and nominalist emphases and the violent self-domination, effected through faith and adherence to alien law, represented in its protagonist. The play, it is argued, mortifies this wish to escape a fate internally related to deeds – call it the tragic – by intensification of what appears to be a sceptical process of formal self-reflection. By examining the role of some visions and images, and of the iconoclastic (demystifying, false) theories of these laid out in the play, the reading pieces out a theatre of a modern fate: the deathliness that scepticism would ward off, but everywhere reproduces.

Written by on Tuesday, posted in Event, News (No comments yet)

No comments yet

Leave a comment