Scholars To Discuss Macbeth at Shakespeare Colloquium

Shakespeare’s dark tragedy “Macbeth,” the topic of the 18th annual Shakespeare Colloquium at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey, will take place on Saturday, October 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Speakers this year are Professors Arthur F. Kinney, Annalisa Castaldo, Steve Mentz, and Iska Alter. Discussion will follow each presentation. The program is free and open to the public. New Jersey teachers may earn professional development credits for participating.

Arthur F. Kinney (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) will ask why Shakespeare was attracted to Macbeth as a tragic hero/villain, and discuss why audiences want to sit through a play that makes such a murderous, violent character its focus. Professor Kinney, who is Director of The Center for Renaissance Studies at the University of Massachusetts, is author of numerous enduring books and essays on Shakespeare and on Renaissance literature, including “Lies Like Truth: Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and its Cultural Moment” (2001).

Annalisa Castaldo (Widener University) will discuss the supernatural elements of Macbeth through a feminist lens, focusing on the complex and contradictory role of the witches as elements in a play obsessed with the definition of manhood. Professor Castaldo has edited “Henry V” and “Macbeth” and recently contributed the entries on fiction to the two-volume “Shakespeare After Shakespeare.”

Steve Mentz (St. John’s University) will discuss “Forests and the Sea: Ecology and Order and Macbeth.” He will examine how the play’s symbolic dialogue between “blue” oceanic visions and “green” agricultural ones encourages awareness of multiple visions of ecological and political order. Professor Mentz, whose most recent book is “At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean” (2009), created the popular gallery exhibition “Lost at Sea: The Ocean in the English Imagination, 1550-1750” for the Folger Shakespeare Library this summer.

Iska Alter (Hofstra University) considers how Shakespeare is adapted into popular culture, with specific reference to the 2001 film “Scotland PA,” in which the tragedy is turned into a satirical comedy set in a burger joint. Here, the vegetarian detective McDuff brings to justice the murderous Joe and Pat McBeth. Professor Alter has published widely on Shakespeare and on modern drama in such journals as “Theatre History Studies,” “Shakespeare Survey,” “Modern Drama,” and “Shakespeare Bulletin” and her essays have appeared in a number of edited collections.

The colloquium on “Macbeth” will be held in Room S-11 (Science Building) on the College at Florham campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. Room S-11 is handicap-accessible. For further information, call 973-443-8711, or contact Colloquium Coordinator Harry Keyishian (M-GH2-01), 285 Madison Avenue, Madison NJ 07940, or e-mail

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