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Transcript of MACBETH
The best seats were covered from weather conditions and were highest up
The poorer you were, the further down you sat
"groundlings" paid a penny for standing-room
Rich audience members sometimes sat onstage with the actors
The theatre "in-the-round" allowed for viewing of both the play and other audience members
audiences always expressed their opinions; they ate, smoked, drank, hissed
Theatre & Government
Plays could often be crude & loud
Government formed rules & regulations for theatrical content; they censored for politics, foul language & heresy
To appease puritans, Queen Elizabeth disallowed theatres to be built within London's city limits
This protected the material and helped avoid spreading disease
Theatres like the Globe were easy to access, however
Theatrical Practices in 16th Century England
Early on, players would perform wherever they could: market squares, courtyards, etc.
As the art grew, the need for theatres grew as well
In 1576 James Burbage built the first theatre
Remember, remember the 5th of November...
Some dispute over origin dates
Generally, 1606 is the accepted year of public presentation
Ties to the Gunpowder Plot
1605 - execution of conspirator
Jesuit Father Henry Garnet
Serpent beneath flower symbol
Witchcraft as a capital offense
King James published
1597 - shortly before
Audience would have viewed witches seriously
Shakespeare stayed close to the cited "symptoms" of a witch
Addition of Middleton's musical witch content later
Other Social Beliefs...
The Great Chain of Being
More on that later!
Divine Right of Kings
Act against king was equivalent to an act against God
Wheel of Fortune
High to low, or low to high
Fate and lack of control
"The Great Chain of Being"
"the use of equivocal or ambiguous expressions, especially in order to mislead or hedge"
"a fallacy caused by the double meaning of a word"
Arguably, equivocation is easily one of the primary themes featured in Macbeth
In Act 2 Scene 3, the Porter, drunk from a night of heaving alcohol consumption, announces the arrival of the equivicator claiming he could "swear in both the scales against either scale"
Drink serves as an equivicator, for it "provokes desire, but it takes away the performance: therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivicator with lechery"
Connection with Catholicism
Many claim that the connection to equivocation in Macbeth lies directly with Henry Garnet, author of A Treatise of Equivocation (a code of practice for English Jesuits)
Catholics at the time struggled with being honest and not denying their Catholic god, while still trying to avoid upsetting the Protestants
The safest way to lie under oath
Allowed Catholics to avoid difficult questions
Prevelant in Shakespeare's society, so very relevant in terms of the play
The Witches & The Prophecies
very ambiguous speakers; full of gaping holes in their speech
"double, double, toil and trouble"
a reminder that everything is overflowing with double meaning
Called "weird sisters;" "weird" comes from the old English word "wyrd," meaning "fate"
The witches act like they can change fate, but can they really? Are they the ultimate equivicators?
the "armed Head"
Macduff as the head of the army & also Macbeth's literal disembodied head
no man "woman-born" will harm Macbeth
"Child, crowned with tree in his hand"
"Macbeth shall never be vanquished until Great Birnam wood to High Dunsinane hill shall come against him" (4.1.92-94)
"That will never be: who can impress the forest, bid the tree" (4.1.94-95)
"the equivocation of the fiend that lies like truth. 'Fear not, till Birnam wood do come to Dunsinane,' and now a wood comes toward Dunsinane" (5.5.42-45)
Already having known that Macbeth slayed Macduff's family, he tells Macduff that his family "were well at peace when I did leave 'em" (4.3.179)
He equivocated, knowing they were killed but claiming them to be at peace in their deaths
The Final Battle
After discovering that Macduff was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd" (5.8.15-16) and therefore not of woman-born, Macbeth says:
"And be these juggling fiends no more believed, that palter us in a double sense; that keep the word of promise to our ear and break it to our hope" (5.8.19-22)
Equivocation was the very core of Macbeth's downfall
by William Shakespeare
Actors served in companies that traveled and performed for cerain theatres
The Globe's company was called the Lord Chamberlain's Men
No female actors at this time; women's roles were played by young men
Scenery & Costumes
scenery tended to be minimal
costumes were elaborate and beautiful upper-class Elizabethan garb
many set designs revolved around looking like a wood or forest, since Shakespeare's plays were fond of that setting
the wooden construction of a stage ("the wooden O") gave some illusion of a forest
Also of interest to King James...
James was the son of Mary, Queen of
Suspected birth date April 23, 1564
Married Anne Hathaway November 28, 1582
Had 3 children Susanna, Hamnet, and Judith. Hamnet died of unknown causes at age 11.
Died April 23, 1616, people believe it was April 5, 1616.
Between 1590 and 1613 he wrote 38 plays, famous Shakespearean sonnets, and 5 other poems.
By 1599 Shakespeare & his partners built The Globe theater.
Used a metrical pattern consisting of lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter, or blank verse
Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Henry VI, Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Drean, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew
Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth
Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest
The Mystery of Shakespeare
There was little information about his life.
Events of 1599 were related to his mind, emotions, and accomplishments, were reflected in his three plays
Official records from the Holy Trinity Church & the Stratford government record a William Shakespeare, but none they do not say he was an actor or playwright.
Purported history of the English Isles
Contains the story of Macbeth
Discovery of Witchcraft
First authority on magic
Persecution of witches was wrong
Conflict with King James
Witches in 1600s
Witches associated with the dark & death.
Agents of Satan, gathering around graves to conduct evil rites & make poisons in Christian countries.
Written by King James I
Under James, Scot's book was targeted
Not only allows but supports witch hunting
Of political importance to Shakespeare
Other Writing About Witches
The Discoverie of Witchcraft: "Witches are women which be commonly old, lame, poor, sullen, superstitious... They are leane and deformed, shewing melancholie in their faces to the horror of all that see them."
Insertion of musical dance number
Potentially after Shakespeare
Increased popularity of Macbeth
Major Premise:God created everything that exists.
Minor Premise: Evil exists.
Therefore, God is the source of evil.
1604 witchcraft became a capital offense. Evidence of a relationship with evil spirits could lead to death by hanging, burning, or drowning.
Witches in Real Life
Devil was real and spent its time trying to trap men and women into his power.
Witches were the naturalists and scientists. They understood the natural world & how things were inter-related.
Banquo and Macbeth meet the witches.
Daemonologie by King James: a treatise that described witchcraft as a real & immediate evil, a threat to the realm.
Variety of sources
Much overlapping of stories
Use of lore and stories that had been passed down over time
Dramatization of reported "history"
Ambiguity of script that we have today
Three Witches were thought of in the form of the Trinity. The Moon Goddess: the New Moon- goddess of birth and growth, the Full Moon-goddess of love and battle, and the Old Moon- goddess of death and divination.
Witch hunts and persecution.
Powers to control the environment and weather.
Witches and devils affect the proper functions of a vulnerable individual's body and mind.
How was this idea brought up?
JUST IN MACBETH'S FIRST LINE
"So foul and fair a day I have not seen."
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth take down Duncan
Old Man and Ross descuss animal behaviors : owl killing hawk, behaved horse runs wild
Those Dirty WITCHES
Women of the night... who have beards???
Thus Shakespeare is telling us that we have a pre-determined fate, but we have free will on how we get there.