William Shakespeare’s Macbeth as a Spatial Palimpsest

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  • 1 University of Athens vmarkidou@enl.uoa.gr
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This article analyses William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in relation to its main spaces – the heath, Macbeth’s three castles, Macduff’s fortress, and the battleground where Macbeth perishes – in order to shed light on the play’s use of spatial politics by outlining the function and significance of the concept of the palimpsest, while concurrently reading the play within a context that conflates Michel de Certeau’s and Henri Lefebvre’s theories of space. It contends that although castles are supposed to be the bedrocks and shelters for the individuals that inhabit them, hence fixed and static, those in the text are ambiguous and changeable while concurrently they refigure and reinscribe one another. Finally, the article will demonstrate that the playwright invites the audience to ponder on the issues of social responsibility and political power by choosing a spatially palimpsestic framework for his play.

Contributor Notes

Vassiliki Markidou is an Assistant Professor of English Literature and Culture at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. She holds a B.A. from the University of Athens, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Lancaster University, United Kingdom. She was funded for her doctoral research by the Board of Greek State Scholarships Foundation. Her research interests are related to the study of sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century British literature and culture as well as travel literature. She has published on Shakespeare, Marlowe, Gascoigne, Lanyer, Marvell, Stanhope, Smollett, Leapor, Craven, Yearsley, and Barbauld. She is currently editing a book with Alison Findlay entitled Shakespeare and Greece which will be published by Arden in 2016.


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