Thursday, February 14, 2008

Historical Context in Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

The play "Macbeth" was written by Shakespeare around 1606, as a tribute to King James I.Prior to ascending the English throne, James was known as James IV in Scotland. Shakespere, already a successful and well-know poet & playwright, wrote the play in homage to James's Scottish heritage.

The play is loosely based on history, like a "ripped from the headlines" tv show. Set in Scotland in the 11th century, the plot follows the storyline of “Macbeth mac Findlaech,” or Macbeth McFinley, who was a general who became a ruler. This time was a time of warlords and chieftains, where the best protection for a kingdom was to have a strong ruler, and the best protection as king was to kill all your enemies.

This is a link to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre which allows you to hear actor's interpret various aspects of Macbeth.

This site also gives a lot of historical info on Scotland and the "real" Macbeth.

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