Learning About Macbeth and Shakespeare

About Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564. Historians believe that he was born on April 23. William's father was a glove maker, tanner, and wool dealer that owned property in Stratford. John Shakespeare served on the town council and was elected mayor. Shakespeare's mother, Mary Aden, was the daughter of a prosperous farmer. Mary and John had eight children but three of them died. William Shakespeare went to school but left when he was about 14 or 15. When he was 18, he married Annie Hathaway who was the daughter of a good farmer. They had one daughter named Susanna and twins named Hamnet and Judith. From 1585 to 1592, little is known about Shakespeare. When a plague forced theatres to close, Shakespeare started to write poetry. In 1594, he helped find the Lord Chamberlain's Men. Shakespeare retired in Stratford and died on April 23.

Shakespeare's Language

Shakespeare uses many unusual word arrangements in his plays and poems. He wrote them in this strange way for dramatic and poetic purposes. What we are used to reading is the word order of subject-verb. Shakespeare uses the inverse of that. For example, Shakespeare would write "You are stupid" as "Stupid you are".

Tips to understand Shakespeare:

The object of the sentence is often placed in front of the verb and subject.

Rearrange the words in the sentence to something you understand.

King James

King James was the only son of Mary Queen of Scots and he was popular. When he rose the throne, he as welcomed by the people because he seemed like he wanted peace. He usually created extreme solutions to problems. King James was also a fan of theater and he required Shakespeare's group, The King's Men, to perform as a courtier. Shakespeare also wrote Macbeth while thinking about Jame's interest in the supernatural.

James was interested in the supernatural. He believed that witchcraft existed and also participated in many witch trials.

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27 Club was a group of artists who died at the age of 27. All of these artists were talented and influential but many died of overdose and other reasons.

More Information of the 27 Club

The Madden Curse is supposedly a curse to all of the cover stars of Madden. The people who are on the cover usually have a bad season and start to get worse. All previous Madden cover stars were all affected.

More Information of the Madden Curse

The curse of Macbeth was said to have started when Shakespeare used authentic black magic in the play script. The people who thought the black magic as sacred would then put a curse on the play. The curse affects the show and all production members. There have been deaths, fires, and injuries that involved the actors and audience members.

More Information of the Curse of Macbeth

Figures in Macbeth

King Duncan - He became the king of Scotland when Malcolm died. He is cousins with Macbeth. He was not a good leader and had a son named Malcolm.

King Macbeth - Formed an alliance with the Earl of Orkney and killed Duncan. Macbeth took the throne after Duncan’s death. He was a respected and had good leadership skills. He was later killed by Duncan’s son, Malcolm.

Witches - Witches were people who were believed to be servants of the devil. They were said to have powers that allowed them to do numerous things. They were associated with the dark and death. During this time period, anybody who was thought to be a witch was executed.

Literary Terms

Soliloquy – the act of talking while or as if alone

Ex. “I hate that person”

Foreshadowing – to show or indicate beforehand

Ex. The floor started to creak and groan as we stepped into the building.

Paradox – statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory but in reality expresses a possible truth

Ex. You can save money by spending money.

Dramatic Irony – irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play

Ex. A person lies that he won’t betray them but the audience knows that he will.

Pun – humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meaning or applications

Ex. An elephant’s opinion carries a lot of weight.

Alliteration – commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter

Ex. Sally sells seashells by the seashore.