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Plot OverviewPlot Overview  Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy  Tells the story of a brave Scottish general (Macbeth) who receives a prophecy.

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Presentation on theme: "Plot OverviewPlot Overview  Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy  Tells the story of a brave Scottish general (Macbeth) who receives a prophecy."— Presentation transcript:


2 Plot OverviewPlot Overview  Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy  Tells the story of a brave Scottish general (Macbeth) who receives a prophecy from three witches that one day he will become King of Scotland.  Consumed with ambitious thoughts and encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and seizes the throne for himself.  He begins his reign with a guilty conscience and becomes a tyrannical ruler  Spiral of arrogance, madness, and death (Macbeth & Lady Macbeth)

3 3 Macbeth IntroductionMacbeth Introduction  Written by William Shakespeare in 1605  Shakespeare wrote Macbeth at the beginning of King James I reign  Before James succeeded Elizabeth I, he was king of Scotland  Placing the play in James’ homeland probably pleased him  Of all the plays Shakespeare wrote under James’s reign, Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright’s close relationship with the king.  James I was interested in witchcraft and wrote a book, Demonology, on the subject – which possibly explains the witchcraft in Macbeth

4 4 The Real MacbethThe Real Macbeth  Macbeth was a real king of Scotland (from 1040-1057)  He did kill King Duncan (1040) and seized the throne  Unlike the Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play  The real Macbeth had a legitimate claim to the throne  The real Macbeth was a strong leader  The real Macbeth’s reign was successful  The real Macbeth was killed at Lumphanan as opposed to Dunsinane

5 Other InfluencesOther Influences  Shakespeare combined the real Macbeth’s history with a story of an old warrior chieftain King Duff  King Duff was murdered by a man called Donwald and his wife when he was staying in their castle as a guest  Shakespeare combined these two stories as influence for Macbeth

6 6 Connections to British SocietyConnections to British Society  “Remember, remember the fifth of November Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason Should ever be forgot...”  In November 1605 the Gunpowder Plot was discovered  Guy Fawkes and his followers (Roman Catholics) planned to blow up Parliament  They wanted to bring down the British government and put a Catholic rulers on the throne  The plot was discovered and the men involved were tried and killed as traitors

7 Connections to British Society  Shakespeare sided with the king and seemed to think that a play about treason and death would find an audience at this time

8 8 So this is a comedy… right?So this is a comedy… right?  Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies (it is also his shortest)  Aside from the violent nature of the plot Shakespeare uses several literary devices to enhance the feeling of evil  He creates a serious and sinister mood by having most of the play take place at night  There is a heavy emphasis on the supernatural (witches, dreams, spells, and ghosts)

9  Setting (Time) : The Middle Ages, specifically the eleventh century  Setting (Place): Scotland; also England, briefly  Protagonist: Macbeth  Major conflicts:  Macbeth’s internal struggle between his ambition and his sense of right and wrong  The struggle between the murderous evil represented by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and the best interests of the nation, represented by Malcolm and Macduff

10 1.The corrupting nature of unchecked ambition 2.The relationship between cruelty and masculinity 3.The difference between kingship and tyranny Major ThemesMajor Themes

11 Macbeth  Tragic hero  Scottish general and the thane of Glamis – meets three witches whose prophecy drive him to evil – especially after their prophecy that he will be made thane of Cawdor comes true.  He cannot resist his dark desires, but his struggle to regain his goodness is constant  The part of his character that is capable of love and compassion, although ever fading, is always present. He is easily tempted and persuaded.  Not really a villain – despite committing many brutal murders – he does not relish his immoral acts as a true villain does

12 Lady MacbethLady Macbeth  Shakespeare's most evil female character  Unlike females who are passive or secondary to husbands – she is a dominant force in play  Ambitious and lusts for power (more than husband?)  Urges her husband to kill – partners in crime/alienated from world  Becomes crazy with guilt

13 Duncan, the King of Scotland  Macbeth's first victim in obtaining the crown for himself.  Shakespeare was a firm believer in the divine right of kings. Throwing over a valiant or beloved monarch was bad  Shakespeare had to make notable changes to the historical Duncan. The real King Duncan was an awful guy.  If Shakespeare's Macbeth planned to kill this Duncan he would be justified, and there would be no play.  So Duncan morphs into a delightful and loved king who epitomizes the perfect ruler. Now, his death is unjustified.

14 Banquo  The antithesis of Macbeth  He is pure and moral - character foil.  Brave and noble general. His children according to the witches’ prophecy, will inherit the Scottish throne  Banquo has no 'vaulting ambition' and thus can easily escape the trap of the witches' prophesies – unlike Macbeth.

15 Donalbain & MalcomDonalbain & Malcom  King Duncan’s sons  Malcom – oldest son; rightful heir to throne after Duncan

16 Macduff  Macduff, the thane of Fife, arrives at Macbeth's castle the morning after Duncan has been murdered.  suspicious of Macbeth almost immediately.  He sides with Malcolm, Duncan's son and rightful heir to the throne.  As punishment for his betrayal, Macbeth hatches a plan to kill Macduff and his whole family.

17 Three WitchesThree Witches  Their prophecy prompts Macbeth to commit murder  They stir up a lot of the trouble  Identity unclear  Servants of Hecate - goddess of witchcraft, who helps the three witches work their mischief on Macbeth.

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