Macbeth and Lady Macbeths Character

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The play ‘Macbeth’ was believed by scholars to have been written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1603 and 1606. Shakespeare’s date of birth is unknown but he was baptised on 26th April 1564 and died on 23rd April 1616, aged 52. He was an English poet and playwright with 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long narrative poems, and several other poems which all consist of his surviving works. His plays have been translated into every major language and are performed more than any other playwrights around the world. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon and married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18. They had three children and between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as a writer and actor. Many speculations surround Shakespeare dealing with such matters as sexuality, appearance, religious belief, and whether work credited by him really was his own or whether it was another writer’s. ‘Macbeth’ is the shortest and most compressed of Shakespeare’s tragedies and with so many plot-holes many wonder whether the play was really ever finished. Shakespeare also adds a supernatural element to this tragedy with ghosts/spirits and witches making appearances. Shakespeare’s first plays were written in the style of the day; however he soon began to write in a more traditional style for his own purposes. Shakespeare developed a poetic style of writing with complex and extreme variations that we can see in alot of his more popular plays, for example in ‘Macbeth’ the language goes from one unrelated metaphor or simile to another. An example of this can be found in Act 1, scene 7 “was the hope drunk/ Wherein you dressed yourself?” The listener/reader is challenged to complete the sense. The play was written in the 17th century during the ‘early modern’ period of Europe. Dramatic advances in scientific understanding took place during this century and two civil wars were fought. James 1st, Charles 1st and Charles 2nd all reigned at some point during the century. The name of the play is thought to have been cursed by witches because Shakespeare used real spells of witches in his text, so some actors refer to ‘Macbeth’ merely as ‘the Scottish play’ or by other names. This however is thought to only be superstitious, although links in well with ‘Macbeths’ supernatural element involving witches – almost making it seem like Shakespeare put some truth and some of his own experiences into the play when writing. The themes illustrated in ‘Macbeth’ include ambition, fate, deception, and treachery. Macbeth and another general called Banquo are confronted by three witches on return from a victorious war between Scotland and Norway. The witches predict that one day Macbeth will become king even though he already has the title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth is persuaded by his wife to kill Duncan the King and frame some sleeping guards for the murder. A noble man called Macduff finds King Duncan’s body but Macbeth uses blood on the guard’s swords as proof that they committed the murder. Macbeth murders the guards and becomes king. However, the ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s conscience begins to drive them insane. Lady Macbeth commits suicide and Macbeth is killed by Macduff. Malcolm is then appointed King. Surprisingly, King Duncan and Macbeth can actually be traced back leading similar lives to the characters in Shakespeare’s play, though obviously Shakespeare’s characters are mainly fictitious. 12th Century Scotland was ruled by Malcolm 1st, David 1st, and William 1st. The play is set at the time of the middle ages, mostly in Scotland and briefly in England. However, Shakespeare changed alot of details to make the play historically inaccurate such as the length Macbeth ruled as King, the locations such as where battles were fought, and many portrayals of characters are incorrect. In Act 1, Scene 5, we see Lady Macbeth’s reaction to Macbeth’s letter in which Macbeth tells her about his...
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