Macbeth, Shakespeare and the Gunpowder Plot

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Among the most influential pieces of British literature in the 15th century stands Shakespeare’s Macbeth. During the 15th century in England, a new era was upon the country as a whole. Macbeth reflects one very unique idea in England at the time known as equivocation. The Gunpowder plot was also directly alluded to in Macbeth several times. The play as a whole was written to please King James, and is even thought by some as a way for Shakespeare himself to avoid suspicion by those investigating The Gunpowder Plot.

One of the most important things to know about the play Macbeth is that the original date of publication is not completely certain. The first recorded response to the play was written in 1611 which would obviously mean that no later than 1611 it could have been written. However, it also could not have been written anytime before May 1606 because of the allusion to the execution of Henry Garnett a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot. Many scholars choose the year of 1606 to say as publication date, this however can be argued extensively. One piece of evidence that scholars pick up on is Shakespeare’s word choice which greatly shows the time period which written.

Through a passage in Macbeth there also appears to be an allusion to the Tiger’s Whelp; a ship that had been tempest tossed and disappeared for a period. However, the ship did rejoin its fleet. It is important to know that one of the passengers on this voyage by Tiger’s Whelp was Anne of Denmark whom King James had married. King James had been a long time skeptic of witches up until this point. When the fierce winds thought to have been brought on by witches threw her ship off course, King James began to change his views.

Shakespeare’s al...

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