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Background Information on Macbeth By Riley Mitchell, Kaylee Bainbridge, Kaylee MacDonald, and Emily Mundle.

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Presentation on theme: "Background Information on Macbeth By Riley Mitchell, Kaylee Bainbridge, Kaylee MacDonald, and Emily Mundle."— Presentation transcript:

1 Background Information on Macbeth By Riley Mitchell, Kaylee Bainbridge, Kaylee MacDonald, and Emily Mundle

2 Sources  Shakespeare drew plot from a multitude of sources.  Main source: Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland by Raphael Holinshed.

3 History about the Play  Shakespeare’s plot is only loosely based on fact.  Macbeth was a real eleventh century Scottish King, who had a valid right to the throne.  He did kill Duncan, but it was his own stepson who later took the throne from him. In the play it was Duncan’s oldest son.  The Banquo in Shakespeare's story was wise, noble and regal man. In real life, Banquo did not exist. He was a fictional character created by Shakespeare.

4 Historical Events at the Time of the Play  King Malcolm II  Died in 1034  Last command was that the throne should go to his oldest grandson Duncan. (against Celtic tradition)  Macbeth battled for the throne, killing Duncan and held the throne for seventeen years.  Duncan’s oldest son, Malcolm III, returned to Scotland with an army, killed Macbeth and took the throne.

5 Political Background  William Shakespeare  Shakespeare wrote plays for Queen Elizabeth and King James  Queen Elizabeth’s plays were happy, optimistic and confident (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)  King James’s plays were darker and more cynical (Macbeth)

6 King James I  King James ruled the throne in 1603 after Queen Elizabeth’s rule ended.  People believed that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth to be a private performance for the King.  Shakespeare used the King’s interest in ancestry in his play by including a scene where the witches conjure up an image of King James’s ascent to the throne.  His greatest passion was witchcraft, in 1597 he wrote Daemonologie. The text concluded that witchcraft was a real and anyone caught using it should be punished.

7 Witchcraft and Supernatural  The Scottish believed in witches.  Witches could make prophecies and affect the outcome of certain events.  Shakespeare wrote the play to please King James so he made the witches the embodiment of evil.  He drew the idea of his witches from the Scottish and Renaissance English beliefs in witches.

8 Attempts to Kill the King  The Gowrie Conspiracy  Assassination on King Jameson August 5, 1600  Deceived the king into meeting a man alone.  The attempt to kill him captured the publics attention, ruining their plan.  Murdering a king would be equivalent to murdering a man chosen by God.

9 Attempts to Kill the King  The Gunpowder Plot  November 5, 1605  Group of Catholics created a plan to kill King James.  Guy Fawkes was found waiting in the basement with a match and gunpowder.  The traitors were executed on January 30, 1606.

10 Philosophical  During the Middle Ages religious people believed in the idea of “The Great Chain of Being.”  The belief was that God had designed an ordered system for both nature and humankind. Which meant royal rank was bestowed by God, and if they went against God’s order it was considered a sin.  Many royalty including King James used this belief to their benefits.

11 Theatre Superstitions  Shakespeare’s play Macbeth is said to be cursed, so actors avoid saying its name and quoting it when in the theatre.  If an actor speaks the name "Macbeth" in a theatre prior to one of the performance, he or she is required to leave the theatre building, spin around three times, spit, curse, and then knock to be allowed back in.

12 Equivocator  An equivocator is a person who speaks ambiguously or doesn't tell the whole truth. The witches in Macbeth are an example of this type of character.  In England, around the time Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, Catholics would speak words with equivocal meanings. They spoke like this to stay out of trouble since their faith was considered a crime.  Equivocation eventually was regarded as a sign of treason.

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