Discussion of William Shakespeare's Macbeth
Written around 1606, 'Macbeth' is regarded as a generous tribute to
the current monarch at the time, King James I. In 1603, the first year
of his reign , King James privileged Shakespeare's theatre company,
above all others, to be the King's Men. Shakespeare's theatre company
was extremely honoured by the title and 'Macbeth' was written in an
attempt at expressing Shakespeare's gratitude.
Before he was King James I of England, he was King James VI of
Scotland. Therefore, as a tribute play it would make sense to set the
play in Scotland. It also seems appropriate that this play features
witches and witchcraft. King James loathed witches and women, so
Shakespeare displayed negative images of women, through the three
witches and Lady Macbeth, mainly by illustrating their ability to
control and manipulate men.
Regicide and political murders are crucial to this play, so are they
prominent in the life of King James too as a serious attempt at his
life was taken in 1605 with Guy Fawkes' gunpowder plot, to blow up the
Parliament with King James inside it. The play would also appeal to
the society at the time as there was anxiety about killing the King.
Shakespeare also explores the topic of kingship and loyalty. They were
of great importance to King James. His father, Lord Darnley was
murdered and his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, had been executed as a
traitor. Hence, inquiries of the role of a monarch were always on his
Other possible intentions include showing the fight between good and
evil, showing the relationships between humans and the supernatural,
exploring the psych...
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...h argued the prose and cons of treason he
commented, 'we but teachâ€¦bloody instructions, which, being taught,
returnâ€¦to plague th'inventor".
We now know this has come true; he has had no sleep because his own
men have defected from his cause and his faith in the witches has also
been confirmed as a mistake.
In conclusion, Macbeth's weakness is his inability to take control of
his own life. Instead he allows his wife's ambition for him and the
witches' prophecies to undermine his integrity. He relies on the
prophecies, which drive him into a fate he cannot control. He is too
easily influenced into the direction he secretly desires to go and
then is determined, and with his determination goes a violent and
ruthless nature. All of this, combined with his unstable mind, makes
Macbeth a complex and tragic figure.