Macbeth Historical Context

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In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth the male characters Macbeth, Macduff, Banquo and Duncan really give you and insight in to the time the play was written. Shakespeare’s Macbeth was written in the Elizabethan era during King James’ reign as King over 400 years ago.

King Duncan is introduced to the play in act 1 scene 2. King Duncan is seen as a great, noble, highly thought of King. He is in The Monarch which is the highest in the social order. “Go pronounce his present death,

And with his former title greet Macbeth.” This quote conveys the power King Duncan has and the price you have to pay for committing reason. King Duncan also thought highly of Macbeth and Banquo and considers them high up in the social order, as this quote highlights; “Dismayed not this Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?” “This castle hath a pleasant seat” This quote shows how wealthy you were if you were high up in the social order that they could have castles and could have lavish parties/banquets. When King Duncan was killed he was seen as a virtuous King which would’ve appealed to King James.

Banquo is an acquaintance of Macbeth. Banquo was a thane and he was apart of The Nobility in the social order, which is just below the king. Banquo would’ve been a far off relative of King James and Shakespeare portrayed him as a noble, brave, great thane but in reality he was an evil tyrant. “Speak if you can: what are you?” Banquo is desperate for the witches to tell him his prophecy and they tell him he is less than Macbeth but he is still basically high up in the social order which was important to them. “O treachery! - Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!

Thou mayst revenge! – O slave” This quote shows the importance of vengeance which was very important to men’s reputation.

Macduff is the darkhorse of the play. Macduff is also a thane and is also part of The Nobility “O gentle lady,
Tis not for you to hear what I can speak.” This introduces us to the note of women being seen as less...
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