Macbeth

Introduction

The author

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most famous and most political works. Written in 1606, Shakespeare accomplishes to outline the dark and sceptical mood of the time by reflecting the unsteadiness and lack of confidence the Jacobean period gave rise to.

Setting

In Macbeth, the setting varies throughout the play. Though most scenarios take place in different Scottish locations, Inverness, Forres and Fife, the play also happens in England.

Relationships

inspiration

Macbeth's storyline is partly built on fact. Macbeth was a real Scottish king who reigned in Scotland from 1040 to 1057. His predecessor, Duncan, was defeated by Macbeth himself in battle. However, the real Duncan was feeble and a man near Macbeth's age, not the reputable and elderly character portrayed in Shakespeare's work. In truth, Macbeth was succeeded by his stepson, not by Duncan's son.

Shakespeare got inspiration of his version of Macbeth in the Chronicles of Holinshed, a historian of his time.

Great Chain Of Being

In the middle ages religious thinkers relied on the belief that both nature and humankind had a designated a place in the world and the alteration of anyone's position would signify a great offence against God. As royal rank was acknowledged as sacred and bestowed by God, it was considered a sin to aspire to it. Macbeth was meant to be a warning to anyone who attempted to bring down the king.

Witches

Shakespeare introduces in Macbeth the popular beliefs of his time about witches and witchcraft. Witches were linked to darkness and death. When the play was written, witchcraft was a subject of increasing interest among the population. Witches were said to be able to perform all the kind of deeds Shakespeare depicts in his work. For a king like Macbeth to visit and have dealings with witches would have seemed as both a crime and a sin.