Date of Award


First Advisor

Jennifer Daniels

Second Advisor

Karen Beaumont

Third Advisor

Isabel Filkins


Applying the principles of clinical psychology to fictional characters has always fascinated me. How do we create characters with traumatic histories? How do our design choices reflect the histories of the characters? What directing and acting choices can we make to convey those histories to the audience? Shakespeare’s horror masterpiece Macbeth provides the perfect opportunity to explore these questions, primarily because of the depth of the two protagonists in the play. The play explores Macbeth’s experience as a traumatized war veteran and Lady Macbeth’s experience of being a powerful and power-seeking woman in a world that devalues her femininity. Both characters are shaped by their shared grief, anger, and guilt over the loss of a child, and their ambitions for power as an attempt to fill that void and protect the family they have left. Blood will have Blood includes my work as a writer, director, and designer. This thesis is centered around a cut of Macbeth created based on my study of trauma psychology and my analysis of the characters. By viewing this play with a psychodynamic viewpoint and through the framework of the Trauma Triad, this project explores how the characters’ destructive and maladaptive behaviors provide us with a glimpse of their unique traumatic history with the goal of understanding how these behaviors and behaviors were once adaptive and necessary for their survival.


Ask at the Alumni Library circulation desk for the companion piece that accompanies this thesis.

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