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A Shakespeare scholar examines the influence of Lady Macbeth in House of Cards

In the hit show's third season, Claire Underwood veers dangerously close to the fate of one of Shakespeare's most complicated female characters

In the works of William Shakespeare, destiny, betrayal, and murder are all but required for any successful rise to power. That treacherous triad is also on full display in Netflix's addictive political drama House of Cards.

The first two seasons made Frank Underwood's Shakespearean influence quite plain. But the third season gives us the opportunity to focus on the power couple's better half, Claire Underwood, and her uncanny parallel to the Bard's Lady Macbeth.

In this podcast, Shakespearean scholar Katherine Rowe, dean and provost of Smith College, explores the rise of Claire Underwood on the political stage, how she uses the conflict between femininity and masculinity to her advantage, and how the show adeptly uses Robin Wright's performance to flip the expectations that Shakespeare set.

Listen up and squirrel away some high-level literary insights for your next cocktail party. And, if you missed it, listen to my earlier conversation with Katherine Rowe about the Bard’s influence in season two.

Spoiler Alert: This interview includes revealing plot points.

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