chapter  12
Violence and Gender Ideology In Coriolanus and Macbeth
ByMarilyn L. Williamson
Pages 20

An ideology is a set of representations that makes sense of material conditions and social formations. Ideologies deny contradictions, seek to make the historical natural, and work to reproduce social formations. Gender, religious, and political ideologies are semi-autonomous, but also related in complex ways to one another and to class and race. Macbeth and Coriolanus use political ideologies in very different ways, a topic interesting in itself. In Macbeth the ideology of kingship answers the forces of rebellion, male and female, through the king as virtuous authority and the representation of tyranny: pre-feudal Scots are made into Jacobeans through a series of silent historical shifts. In Macbeth Shakespeare uses the discourse of kingship to define the moral and natural legitimacy of rule through primogeniture, even though his sources presented a much different political situation. Although Janet Adelman has given an excellent account of the motherson relation, she has not touched on the issue of Volumnia's authorization of Marcius's violence.