Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: PEP-Web Archive subscribers can access past articles and books…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you are a PEP-Web Archive subscriber, you have access to all journal articles and books, except for articles published within the last three years, with a few exceptions.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Jekels, L. (1943). The Riddle of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Psychoanal. Rev., 30:361-385.

Welcome to PEP Web!

Viewing the full text of this document requires a subscription to PEP Web.

If you are coming in from a university from a registered IP address or secure referral page you should not need to log in. Contact your university librarian in the event of problems.

If you have a personal subscription on your own account or through a Society or Institute please put your username and password in the box below. Any difficulties should be reported to your group administrator.


Can't remember your username and/or password? If you have forgotten your username and/or password please click here and log in to the PaDS database. Once there you need to fill in your email address (this must be the email address that PEP has on record for you) and click "Send." Your username and password will be sent to this email address within a few minutes. If this does not work for you please contact your group organizer.

OpenAthens or federation user? Login here.

Not already a subscriber? Order a subscription today.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Review, 30(4):361-385

Original Articles

The Riddle of Shakespeare's Macbeth

Ludwig Jekels, M.D.

The problem of this paper is suggested in a remark of the distinguished Shakespearean scholar, Gervinus. In one of his studies, he urges that a bridge be thrown between Shakespeare's inner life and his poetry “with a few speaking touches, and a connection pointed out, which may show that with Shakespeare, as with every rich poetic nature, no outer routine and poetic propriety, but inner experiences and emotions of the mind were the deep springs of his poetry,—then for the first time we should have reached a point which would bring us near the poet; we should gain a complete idea of his personal existence, and obtain a full picture, a living view of his mental stature.”

Perhaps interpretations of Macbeth differ so widely because few scholars have adopted this plan, which seems to be the only correct one. Ulrici, for instance, while underestimating the ambition motif, interprets the drama as based on the relation between the external world and man's willpower and energy. Other authors conceive the plot of the tragedy and the character development of its heroes as arising, for the most part, from the conflict between ambition and conscience. From none of these comments could we infer any of Shakespeare's “inner experiences.”

This need not imply that the poet's emotional keyboard lacked


* Translated from the German original published in “Imago”, Volume 5, issue 3, 1917.

1 Georg Gottfried Gervinus, Shakespeare Commentaries (translated by F. E. Bunnètt), p. 22. New York: Scribner, Welford, & Armstrong, 1875.

2 Herman Ulrici, Shakespeare's Dramatic Art… (translated by L. D. Schmitz), vol. 1, pp. 460-461. London: George Bell and Sons, 1876.

- 361 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2017, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.