The Macbeth of the American West: Tragedy, genre and landscape in Breaking Bad

  title={The Macbeth of the American West: Tragedy, genre and landscape in Breaking Bad},
  author={Jeffrey Chisum},
  journal={Critical Studies in Television: The International Journal of Television Studies},
  pages={415 - 428}
  • J. Chisum
  • Published 22 November 2019
  • Art
  • Critical Studies in Television: The International Journal of Television Studies
This article explores the AMC television series, Breaking Bad (2008–2013), through the lens of tragedy as it pertains to the American West (both the physical place and the west as a narrative symbol). The show is perhaps unique insofar as it frames its protagonist, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), as a figure who is simultaneously a western archetype and a tragically flawed ‘hero’ whose complex ambitions bring about his downfall. The series thus presents a powerful counterargument to George… 


There is a great deal of critical scholarship about Breaking Bad (2008–13), some of which has appeared in the pages of this journal (see Chisum, 2019: 415–428). It might seem that everything that



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