It is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell": The Christian Dimension of Shakespeare's "Macbeth Thesis uri icon



  • Thesis (M.A., English)--University of Idaho, June 2015 | Can tragedy and the Christian message of eternal hope and salvation coincide? Not only are the two visions of mortal life not mutually exclusive, but the Christian dimension of eternity also brings to tragedy an even deeper significance. Comparing Greek tragedy with Shakespearean, and analyzing the Christian contributions to drama—psychomachias and morality plays—demonstrates that the Christian possibility of eternal salvation makes the potential for failing to achieve salvation infinitely more tragic. “’It is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell’: The Christian Dimension of Shakespeare’s Macbeth” analyzes the rise and fall of Macbeth’s power in terms of Christian understanding. Arguing that tragedy is possible within a Christian narrative, this essay studies the temptation of Macbeth and his willful descent into evil and the destruction wrought upon Lord and Lady Macbeth as well as the whole of Scotland as a result of the poisonous effects of sin. Ultimately, the essay seeks to demonstrate that Macbeth exemplifies the essential and only tragedy possible in a Christian world: that a man may willingly choose his own damnation.

publication date

  • August 15, 2015


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