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In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth the male characters Macbeth, Macduff, Banquo and Duncan really give you and insight in to the time the play was written. Shakespeare’s Macbeth was written in the Elizabethan era during King James’ reign as King over 400 years ago. King Duncan is introduced to the play in act 1 scene 2. King Duncan is seen as a great, noble, highly thought of King. He is in The Monarch which is the highest in the social order. “Go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth. This quote conveys the power King Duncan has and the price you have to pay for committing reason. King Duncan also thought highly of Macbeth and Banquo and considers them high up in the social order, as this quote highlights; “Dismayed not this Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo? ” “This castle hath a pleasant seat” This quote shows how wealthy you were if you were high up in the social order that they could have castles and could have lavish parties/banquets. When King Duncan was killed he was seen as a virtuous King which would’ve appealed to King James.
Banquo is an acquaintance of Macbeth. Banquo was a thane and he was apart of The Nobility in the social order, which is just below the king. Banquo would’ve been a far off relative of King James and Shakespeare portrayed him as a noble, brave, great thane but in reality he was an evil tyrant. “Speak if you can: what are you? ” Banquo is desperate for the witches to tell him his prophecy and they tell him he is less than Macbeth but he is still basically high up in the social order which was important to them. O treachery! – Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou mayst revenge! – O slave” This quote shows the importance of vengeance which was very important to men’s reputation. Macduff is the darkhorse of the play. Macduff is also a thane and is also part of The Nobility “O gentle lady, Tis not for you to hear what I can speak. ” This introduces us to the note of women being seen as less tough/strong than men and Macduff is saying Lady Macbeth shouldn’t hear about the gruesome murder of King Duncan. Macduff and
Malcolm plan to overthrow Macbeth as he has turned into an evil tyrant and is running Scotland into the ground. “Make all our trumpets speak give them all breath, Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death! ” In this era wars happened quite often because of a disagreement or problems with a country. Macbeth is a true example of a tragic hero. At the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen a noble, brave, great thane and part of The Nobility. In the play the witches played a major part of Macbeth’s downfall. “Speak if you can: what are you? This quote is the first encounter has with the witches. King James was very interested in the supernatural and even wrote about it. Shakespeare may have put aspects of the supernatural in the pay to keep the King intrigued. Once Macbeth starts to have murderous thoughts he says this very famous quote; “Stars hide your fires, Let not light see my black and deep desires. ” In the play it emphasises that every evil happened in darkness. Elizabethans also believed in this. “I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent but only
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Vaulting ambition. ” In theatre Macbeth is known for being ambitious but his ‘vaulting ambition’ ended up being his downfall. In Macbeth, Macbeth was known for his relationship with his controlling wife, Lady Macbeth. “My dearest love. ” Not all relationships in that era were genuine but Lady Macbeth and Macbeth seemed to have an affectionate/strong relationship as the quote shows. In the Elizabethan era men were seen as the superior sex and were seen as being brave and noble. “When you durst do it, then you were a man. This quote is Lady Macbeth questioning Macbeth’s manliness for being hesitant for King Duncan’s murder which would’ve been a massive insult to a man as they were seen as being superior. At the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as a noble, great thane but by the end he is seen as an evil tyrant, he is a true example of a tragic hero. William Shakespeare’s the characters really give you an insight into the Elizabethan era. The male characters shows us how they were seen as being superior and how important being high up in the social order really is and we can see the contrast in our day age now compared to their era.
Author: Cari Minns
Macbeth Historical Context
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Historical Context For Shakespeare's Plays Essay
Arguably the greatest playwright of his time, perhaps in all of history, William Shakespeare's literary works have had a tremendous impact (see Appendix 2). Reaching into the pop culture of the modern world through movies and quotes used in everyday conversation, Shakespeare's influence is astounding (see Appendix 1). One rarely stops to think, however, about events that had an impact on Shakespeare's life, particularly his writing. The outbreak of the plague, social disparity, political unrest, just a few of the historical happenings that impacted Shakespeare's plays, including Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Henry IV
The basic setting of Macbeth is a man named Lord Macbeth usurping the Scottish throne from the rightful ruler. Shakespeare's writing was based on "Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577), the authoritative historical text of the period". In this historical account, there are stories of murder, deceit, and tradition, from which Shakespeare draws his inspiration for Macbeth. The fashion in which Macbeth murdered his king is extremely similar to how one of King Duff's retainers ended his life. Around 1605 when Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, King James I had recently taken the throne of England after having been known as King James IV of Scotland. Macbeth's identity as a Scot is a nod to James I original Scottish upbringing and heritage (www.westirondequoit.org).
The outbreak of the plague during Shakespeare's life reflected in his writing, resulting in a far more massive number of tragedies than comedies. The tragic deaths of his main characters are speculated to have been reference to important people in his life dying unexpectedly. There were time periods in which the plague was rather stagnant in London, between which there were spikes of rampant infection. The writing of Macbeth coincided most closely with the outbreak of 1603, two years before the release of the play (http://faculty.history.wisc.edu). Over 30,000 people perished during this outbreak. Although not as severe as other outbreaks in London such as the final outbreak in 1655-66, it ravaged the country nonetheless (www.princeton.edu).
Romeo and Juliet
From plague and disease outbreak, sprung a new era of unrest. Enter the social discrepancy of the class system, the basis of one of Shakespeare's most famous works, Romeo and Juliet. Although this work of Shakespeare is not completely original, he introduced many new ideas to this pre-existing story that had been passed down from generation to generation. Originally penned in English as a poem, Romeus and Juliet was written by a poet named Arthur Brooks. Much of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was pulled straight from Brooks' poem, such as the first contact at the ball, the sleeping potion, and the eventual suicides of both Romeo and Juliet. Although his content is not completely original, Shakespeare's style and sense of urgency in his plays are what truly distinguish him from...
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