Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Marino, James

Subject Headings

Girard, René, 1923- -- Criticism and interpretation, Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, Macbeth -- Criticism and interpretation, British literature -- History and criticism, Irish literature -- History and criticism


Theorist Rene Girard, in his A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare (1991), creates a near-perfect compendium of his critical thoughts by exploring numerous plays and poems of Shakespeare's. Curiously, however, the tragedy of Macbeth is left out of Girard's many thorough analyses. Herein discussed is an analysis of Macbeth utilizing the Girardian model, intending to demonstrate that Shakespeare's Scottish tragedy may benefit from such a reading as equally as the plays and poems Girard himself has already examined. By drawing upon the concepts generated by Girard in his Violence and the Sacred (1972), one may note how Macbeth is filled with the mimetic rivalries, crises of degree, and instances of undifferentiation that serve to propel Shakespeare's Scotland into the throes of chaos. Such chaos is ultimately what constitutes both the rise and the fall of Macbeth, following a twisted course of events tainted with the blood and violence of sacrifice.