The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play The Shakespearian play ‘Macbeth’ is one the four greatest tragedies, encompassing witchcraft, crime and punishment, evil temptations, guilt, remorse and above all, greed for power. ‘Macbeth’ was probably written in 1606 when Shakespeare was in his early 40s. His other three great tragedies had already been written, and his reputation was established. King James ruled England, having assumed the throne when Queen Elizabeth died in 1603. Aspects of ‘Macbeth’ seem to be calculated to flatter King James. James was known to be a fan of witchcraft and was also a descendant of the historical Banquo. The vision of the line of kings that Macbeth sees in Act IV implies that the Stuart dynasty (James' line) will continue to rule indefinitely. At the time when Shakespeare wrote ‘Macbeth’, England had very different opinions as to modern times. The role of women in society was significantly low and they were much less powerful than men, who held all public and political votes. There were distinct gender roles and a women’s sphere of legitimate power was located in the home. Women were not allowed to act on stage and so the presence of a ‘women’ on stage assuming control outside the domestic sphere was striking. During Shakespeare’s time women were also thought to assume power illegitimately through evil forces, which is why Lady Macbeth is presented as an evil and cruel woman yet at some points, she is portrayed as pitiful and pathetic. Many women were accused of being witches and were also executed during the reign of James I. Manhood in Macbeth is tied to ideas of strength, power, physic... ... middle of paper ... ... that one day his children would rule Scotland, Macbeth felt threatened and ordered murderers to ‘butcher’ Banquo and Fleance. On hearing about Macduff’s flight to England, another threat to his position according to the witches’ was that no man of woman born could harm him. This prophecy made Macbeth keen on fighting with Macduff. However, Macduff proved that he could still murder and overpower him. We can see that Macbeth is responsible for many crimes and how power hungry he was. He has taken so many lives just to maintain his leadership. In the course of the play, Macbeth repeatedly misunderstood the guilt that he was suffering as being simply a matter of apprehension. His characteristic way of dealing with his guilt was to face it directly by committing more misdeeds and this of course, only led to more insanity.