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Transcript of Macbeth
Events that took place at the time of the writing
When Queen Elizabeth's rule ended in 1603, she was succeeded to the throne by King James I, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. He had ruled Scotland as King James IV since 1581: The story contains many instances and reflections of James' interests: the family tree of Scottish royalty, the threat of leaving the throne , and witchcraft. Shakespeare addresses his monarch's interest in supernatural instances by including a scene in which the witches create an image of King James's ascent to the throne through a family tree traced back to Banquo.
The supernatural elements are an integral part of Macbeth. At the time that Shakespeare wrote the play (between 1603 and 1606), the audiences where very fascinated and intrigued by such supernatural elements. The supernatural builds an element of suspense and mystery and also helps enhance the theme of violence.
1) The witches
The witches are also referred to as the “three weird sisters” multiple times in the play. Macbeth is obsessed with their prophecies and the three witches and the witches are partly responsible for his insecure and blood thirsty behaviour. The three witches represent darkness, chaos and conflict.
Two very important lines to support this are:
1)“Fair is foul and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air”-(act 1 scene 1). It enhances the tone of evil and mystery also establishing moral confusion
2)“Double double, toil and trouble”- clearly states their intension for trouble for mortals.
King Malcolm II of Scotland died in 1034, his last command was that the throne should pass to his oldest grandson, Duncan.
This last request went against the Indo European traditions, which demanded that the throne be passed between different branches of the family. Which cut out another grandson Macbeth from the line of inheritance.
Macbeth nevertheless pursued his claim to the throne due to the tradition, and further stupported his claim to the throne throught the ancestory of his wife. Who was a direct decendant of two early scotish kings, Malcolm I and Kenneth III.
However, Macbeth's claim was rejected in favor of Duncan's.
Macbeth was not immediately hostile to the new king, but several years into Duncan's reign he raised an army and openly opposed the monarch. Duncan led his own forces against Macbeth and was killed in battle.
With Duncan out of the way Macbeth became the king of Scottland
BY: Diya, Kiran, Sneha and Shradha
2) Ghost of Banquo
The ghost of Banquo is Act three scene 4 where it was Macbeth’s first feast as a king. As the banquet commences, the first murderer enters followed by the ghost of Banquo a little while later. The ghost enters as Macbeth hallucination and is not seen by the rest of the members of the ball. It is a part of Macbeths paranoia but is also seen as the work of the evil witches. It is a symbol of Macbeths guilt for murder. The ghost is silent, even though Macbeth asks him to speak so that the members of the feast can know he is not going crazy. The irony in the scene is that Macbeth is the one who silenced Banquo forever and yet expects him to speak.
3)The floating dagger
The floating dagger is seen in Act 2 Scene 1 before Macbeth is about to kill Duncan. It is very symbolic of Macbeths journey to insanity and mental deterioration. The dagger is a part of Macbeths hallucination where he sees a dagger before his eyes with the handle facing him. It is the same dagger that he would be using to kill Duncan which tells us it is to do with his death. The dagger scares Macbeth and is a part of his guilty consciousness. It reminds him of the crime he is about to commit and terrifies. The monologue ends with Macbeth deciding that it is to late to back out now and he must kill Duncan.
Introduction to the chronicles
Raphael Holinshed wrote the Holinshed’s chronicles. Many playwrights in Europe were based on these chronicles (including Macbeth). They were published in the late 1500’s. They were titled “chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland”
Although Macbeth took parts of the story from Holinshed’s Chronicles Shakespeare changed the way the mythical creatures are represented. For example the three witches.
In Holinshed’s chronicles they are beautiful and have a strong connection with nature, they are almost fairy like. They are magical and small and stature. In Macbeth they are ugly, evil and manipulative. This is done so it could install fear within the audience.
He held the throne without incident for seventeen years until Duncan's oldest son, Malcolm III, returned to Scotland with an army.
Malcolm killed Macbeth, when their armies met at the Battle of Lumphanan. With Macbeth's death, Malcolm faced one final obstacle to the throne: Lulach, the son of Lady Gruoch from an earlier marriage.
Lulach, who was actually crowned king immediately following Macbeth's death, claimed the Scottish throne through the ancestry of his mother. Malcolm did not let this development deter him; he had Lulach murdered and took the crown in 1058.
Holinshed Chronicles and Macbeth
Shakespeare's version of Macbeth's relationship with his king comes from several places in Holinshed: King Duff, like Duncan, is murdered by a nobleman he trusts. Donwald, like Shakespeare's Macbeth, acts with the support of his wife. Similarly in his account of the later history, Holinshed describes Duncan as an ineffective monarch who realized his own weakness enough to enlist the aid of Macbeth and Banquo to fight off Donwald's invasion from the Hebrides. Macbeth and Banquo defeated this invasion, as well as another invasion by Sweno of Norway. Other elements of that can be traced to Holinshed's include Macbeth Chronicles Macbeth's attempt to murder Banquo and Fleance and Macbeth's death at the hands of Macduff.
One of King James' greatest passions was the study of witchcraft. In 1597 he wrote an influential Daemonologie, text in which he said that witchcraft was a reality and that those who practice it should be punished. King James also attended trials and examinations regarding witchcraft, including the examination of Dr. Fian, a Scottish schoolmaster who was said to be a witch.
There were many attempts of assanitation on King James. Two of the most commonly known ones are the: "The Gowrie Conspiracy" and "The Gunpowder Plot "
King Malcolm III