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"I Dare Do All That May Become a Man": Establishing a Textual Case for an All-female Macbeth

Date

2022-10-17

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Degree Level

Masters

Abstract

This project paper seeks to establish a textual basis for staging a genderbent all-female version of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It is the second step in a two-part process, which I began by editing the text of Macbeth to present all the characters as women. Creating this prototype script – which is attached at the end of this document as an appendix titled “An All-female Macbeth”– served as an experiment to see how well an all-female version of the play would work and how much would need to be changed in order for it to do so. I discovered that it worked very well with only minimal changes to male pronouns and other gender identifiers, so this paper now examines the implications of that choice on the story’s gender dynamics, power dynamics, and character relationships. The thesis that arises out of this research is that presenting a genderbent all-female version of Macbeth does not disrupt the essential function or integrity of the play, which means that genderbending should be considered a textually legitimate form of performance; moreover, this paper argues that exploring the play in this manner brings new meaning and value out of the text by conceptualizing how a genderbent all-female production of Macbeth could serve as a powerful contemporary feminist statement.

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Keywords

Shakespeare, feminism, Macbeth

Citation

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

English

Program

English

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