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					Shakespeare’s
  Macbeth
    Read the slides in this presentation to answer
              the following questions:


1) Who was King at the time Macbeth was written? How
   did this affect the play (i.e., what was added/changed)?

2) How is Macbeth a tragedy? How was Macbeth’s story
   traditionally viewed by people?

3) What are the big questions about evil, fate, ambition,
   guilt, and success raised in Macbeth? How does this
   apply today?
Why did Shakespeare Write It?
          • In 1603, King James VI comes to power and
            takes Shakespeare’s acting company, the Lord
            Chamberlain’s Men, as his own The King’s
            Men.
          • Shakespeare may have wanted to please his
            new ―boss‖, and so he wrote a play about issues
            his King (and the paying public) would want to
            see.
             – King James claimed to be a descendant of
                 the real Banquo (a major character in
                 Macbeth), with only eight kings in between
                 them.
             – James was also famous for his obsession
                 with witchcraft, a big theme that
                 Shakespeare incorporates into the play.
  Macbeth’s
  Historical
   Context
Shakespeare took the
  basic story of
  Duncan and Macbeth
  from Hollinshed’s
  Chronicles, which
  dates the reign of
  these two Scottish
  monarchs between
  1034 - 1057.
      History says….Shakespeare says…
 According to the Chronicles, the real Macbeth became king in
 1040 after defeating Duncan, who was a weak, youthful ruler
 with little experience. Macbeth reigned for 17 years.


Shakespeare
makes Duncan
older and more
respected by
his thanes
(Lords) in the
play, thus
increasing the
dilemma faced
by Macbeth.

                                 Cawdor Castle
Twisted History?
        –Because the historical Banquo
        was involved in a conspiracy to
        murder the king, Shakespeare
        paints the character of Banquo
        (King James supposed
        ancestor) in a much more
        honorable light.
        –Because he had to please his
        patron, Shakespeare made the
        character of Macbeth much
        more villainous than he
        probably was.
                 • After King James’s marriage in
  Why the          1589, his life was threatened by
                   a group of witches (motivated
Obsession with     by political ends), and they
  Witches?         were burned to death as both
                   traitors and witches.
                 • He became utterly convinced of
                   the reality of witches after this
                   incident, and wrote a master
                   book on the subject entitled
                   "Demonologie" which became
                   the text-book for future witch-
                   hunters.
                 • In Scotland between 1590-1680,
                   it is estimated that 4400 witches
                   were executed. James himself
                   interrogated witches and
                   ordered their executions.
            Instruments of ―Truth‖
 To favorite methodin the back involved acting
  A thumb screws of James were used for, well,
Theobtain confessions,torture and thosethe rope breaking
 on his behalfrods were the “truth” the arc was placed atop
  to the left; people were circle slowly hard
thumbs, whileextracted pushedwith theunder the fingernails the
 The wooden the metal hung, drawn (pulled
 way. theyin the mouth, quartered, with body lit on fire!
head and the limbs) andslowly cutting out the person’s tongue
 until at pierced the fingertips; then, they were
  apart
 While sentpliers had many uses, as a rope
  parts the around the their mouth! warning
                                    the
with each movement ofreal instruments ofattached to the metal
 These are some of the kingdom
  (hence the itby the English & rope was during around the skull,
                 was unique; the           placed
 rod next to head on the pike to the right).
 torture                          Scottish
Withthe usedwasto look forward to, you did nottight, it literally
 and   these tools twisted until the rope grew so want to irritate
           rod
 the middle ages. be accused of being a witch!
those in charge oropen!
 popped the skull
What powers were witches believed to
              have?
– They could speak with
  the devil, and with his
  help they could
  communicate with the
                              All of these powers
  dead. Some could see
  into the future.
                              appear in Macbeth!
– They could fly through
  the air, and make
  themselves invisible.
– They could make people
  fall ill using spells and
  potions, and kill people
  at a distance.
– They could use animals        - They can cause bad weather
  such as cats as disguises
  for the evil spirits who      and storms, affecting ships at
  serve them.                   sea and spoiling crops.
     Traditional Views of Macbeth
Macbeth was seen as a




A “man of high standard who falls from
 that high because of a flaw that has
 affected many” - Aristotle
           What is Tragedy?
• Drama where the
  central
  character(s) suffer
  disaster/great
  misfortune
  – The hero’s          • Fate
    downfall results    • Character flaw/Fatal flaw
    from:               • Combination of the two
         Shakespearean Tragic Plot
• Act I: Exposition
   – This is where the setting,
   characters, and conflicts are
    introduced.

• Act II: Rising Action

• Act III: Turning Point (Climax)
   – This is where it all starts to go badly for the tragic hero.

• Act IV: Falling Action

• Act V: Resolution
   – The conflicts are resolved; chaos returns to order.
Why Read Shakespeare Today
• His fast-paced plots,
  complex characters, and
  creative language have
  become part of our culture!
• His plays help us see our own relationships in strong
dramatic terms and help us to better understand
ourselves and those around us.
• In its depiction of a man who murders for what he
wants, only to lose all that humans need in order to be
happy—sleep, friends, love—Macbeth introduces big
questions relevant to any age…
  Questions Raised By Macbeth
• Why do people do evil knowing it is evil?
• How do people deal with temptation?
• What determines your future? Is it fate?
  Social pressure? Ambition?
• What are the consequences of success at
  any cost?
             Macbeth Today…
• Shakespeare’s play about a
  blindly ambitious general with a
  strong-willed wife who must try
  to cope with the guilt of crimes
  committed in order to further
  their power is easily adapted to
  the world today:
• Greed, Power, Ambition,
  Murder, Insanity, Guilt, Deceit,
  Husbands vs. Wives, Blood,
  and Evil NEVER go out of
  style!
     If you haven’t already, review the slides in
    this presentation and answer these questions:


1) Who was King at the time Macbeth was written? How
   did this affect the play (i.e., what was added/changed)?

2) How is Macbeth a tragedy? How was Macbeth’s story
   traditionally viewed by people?

3) What are the big questions about evil, fate, ambition,
   guilt, and success raised in Macbeth? How does this
   apply today?
   Bonus: Influence of Macbeth
• There are many very     The Simpsons!
  famous lines taken
  from Macbeth
   – One is the witches
     ―Double, double
     toil and trouble:
     Fire, burn; and
     cauldron, bubble.‖
     (Act IV, Scene I)

				
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