introduction to Macbeth

Report
William
Shakespeare
An introduction to Macbeth
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1564-1616:
(Elizabeth I dies 1603, succeeded by James I)
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, north of London
Educated at a “grammar school” in Latin and
classical studies
At 18, he married Anne Hathaway aged 26
First child, Susanna born 6 months later… do the
math!
Twins Hamnet and Judity born two years later, 1585
Hamnet dies age 11
Early Life
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Not clear when he moved to London
His plays were on stage by 1592
His family stayed behind in Stratford
Shakespeare’s play won royal favour,
particularly of James I
• With a group of friends he built
the Globe Theatre
London Life
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Constructed on the south bank of the Thames
An open-air amphitheatre
The higher the seats, the pricier the ticket
The common folk stood on the ground
Beer and snack were served – it got quite rowdy
at times!
The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre
• Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies
• A tragedy to Shakespeare involves a man of
high rank who falls due to a personal flaw
• Written between 1603 and 1607
• Based on the history of the murder of King
Duncan of Scotland
• However, in reality Macbeth was a respected
king of Scotland
• Theatre superstition: it’s called the “Scottish
Play”
Macbeth
• A capable general at the service of King Duncan
• His title is Thane (Earl) of Glamis
• Rewarded with new title:
Thane of Cawdor
• He has a tragic flaw: ambition
Characters – Macbeth
• Macbeth’s wife
• She is even more ambitious than
her husband
• She knows how to manipulate Macbeth
Lady Macbeth
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The well respected king of Scotland
He is older than Macbeth
Macbeth’s kinsman (“cousin”)
Macbeth is very loyal to him – at the beginning
Two sons: Malcolm and Donalbain
King Duncan
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Macbeth’s great friend
Also a general in Duncan’s army
Son: Fleance
Prophecy: he will give rise to
many kings of Scotland
• James I of England was also
James VI of Scotland,
said to be a descendant of
Banquo
• A character foil to Macbeth
Banquo
• Another thane (of Fife) and general
• Becomes important in the final act
• Has a wife and son
Macduff
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People believed that witches caused misfortune
had “familiars” or animal spirits to assist them
represented a challenge to the established order
James I had written a book on how to detect and
try witches
• Many witches were burned during
his reign
The Three Witches
• Shakespeare follows a formula for most of
his plays
• Act I: exposition
• Act II: rising action
• Act III: climax
• Act IV: falling action
• Act V: resolution
(denouement)
Plot
Setting
• Scotland
• Inverness Castle, Macbeth’s home, and other
clammy places
• Time: the 11th century, Thursday, around tea
time
• Atmosphere: dark, gloomy, foreboding,
generally nasty
• Deceit and equivocation
• Deceit: the act of deceiving; concealment
or distortion of the truth
• Equivocation: the use of ambiguous,
vague expressions; misleading or
hedging
• Masculinity:
• What qualities make a man?
• How should a “real” man act?
• Can a woman act like a “man”?
Themes
• When would the assassination
of a political leader be
justified, if at all?
Quick Write

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