AWEJ Special Issue on Literature No.1, 2013                                                                                   Pp. 30- 41

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Macbeth’s Motiveless Malignity: The “sweet discord” in Shakespeare’s Craftsmanship

Mary Raj
An-Najah National University
Nablus- Palestine


Despite the enormous mass of critical scholarship available today to the student of Shakespeare, less has been said on the flaws that are inherent in the crafting of his plots compared with the enormous output we have on what I term his art: his vision, his poetry and the profound timeless truths that he has expressed about the human condition. Far from being the careful craftsman that many modern critics would have us believe he was, many of Shakespeare’s dramatic plots suffer from the haste and carelessness with which they were often executed. In this paper, I focus on one of his great tragedies, Macbeth. My investigation into some of the play’s oversights and structural weaknesses, especially with regard to the motives ascribed to Macbeth for the crimes he commits, sheds light on the flaws in Shakespeare’s technique that we often overlook in our preoccupation with his artistry in this play.

Keywords:   art, craft, artist, craftsman, plot, motive, flaws


Mary Raj has taught English language and literature for thirty two years at the English
Department and the Language Center at An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine. She
has written on subjects in literature and issues in teaching English to speakers of other languages.
She is currently engaged in writing a book on medieval English literature in the context of
contemporary culture and history.