Unsex Me Here // On the Power of ‘Evil’ Women in Macbeth

‘Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe topful of direst cruelty’ (Act 1, Scene 5, lines 39-41)

Halloween is here and something wicked this way comes. B discusses the real power of ‘evil’ women in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is not only a gritty and gruesome drama perfect for spooky autumn nights, it’s a performance of male versus female ambition and how their differences are praised and punished. Macbeth’s main theme is the destruction wrought by unchecked ambition, which is most powerfully expressed in the dichotomy between Macbeth and his female counterparts: Lady Macbeth and the three witches. Intriguingly, female ambition and male ambition is depicted differently and seem to fall into two separate definitions. Macbeth’s portrayal of masculine ambition revolves around cruelty and an insatiable desire for power. While the women of the play also desire power, their ambition reveals itself through their cunning and calculated machinations. They’re far more sophisticated than the troubled Macbeth himself, and yet their cleverness is overlooked and they are remembered in history as being evil. This 17th-century play grimly reveals the conflation between powerful women and evil women.

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Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, by John Singer Sargent (1889). On display at Tate Britain.

Continue reading “Unsex Me Here // On the Power of ‘Evil’ Women in Macbeth”

Bo-Arts || Woman of the Year (Part 4)

Bo-Arts is a bi-weekly art/literature initiative. Twice a month,  Boshemia will share creative writing and visual art submissions from our readers and folks who identify as feminist to give a larger audience to emerging creatives. Our goal is to provide a platform for feminist artists to share and discuss their work.

This issue of Bo-Arts, Woman of the Year: Part 4, is the fourth installment of the poem-and-photography collaborations brought to you by a duo from Frederick, Maryland, USA.  Anna See-Jachowski is a poet and feminist thrilled to be working with Boshemia. Anna, her partner Matt, and their four cats live in Frederick. Emily Jessee is a young feminist creative who uses platforms like photography to portray the harshness and vulnerability of the world around her.

About the Series

“These poems are part of a series I plan to self-publish this year, titled Woman of the Year. Each poem represents a period in a young artist’s life in which they find love, a muse, and desperately seek the meaning of that experience. The five poems are a taste of what the series will offer, and explore the deadly combination of desperation and anger felt when a lover leaves;  the lovely vulnerability of falling asleep around people you love; the ritual of hedonism in summertime; and finally, the artist’s banishment of her muse for the sake of her own recovery from trauma.” – from Anna

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all photography by Emily Jessee

Continue reading “Bo-Arts || Woman of the Year (Part 4)”