The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play

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The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play


Macbeth was most likely written in 1606, early in the reign of James

I, who had been James VI of Scotland before he succeeded to the

English throne in 1603. James was a patron of Shakespeare’s acting

company, and of all the plays Shakespeare wrote under James’s reign,

Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright’s close relationship with

the sovereign. In focusing on Macbeth, a figure from Scottish history,

Shakespeare paid homage to his king’s Scottish lineage. Additionally,

the witches’ prophecy that Banquo will found a line of kings is a

clear nod to James’ family’s claim to have descended from the

historical Banquo. In a larger sense, the theme of bad versus good

kingship, embodied by Macbeth and Duncan, respectively, would have

resonated at the royal court, where James was busy developing his

English version of the theory of divine right.

The language throughout the play is constantly troubled, and audience

members in the Elizabethan era would have understood this. For

example, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are emotionally troubled by the

killing of King Duncan. This comes across in William Shakespeare’s

ability to portray this frustration. Where there is meant to be 10

beats per line in verse writing, Shakespeare adds another beat in

lines where the characters are troubled, creating a frustrated or

troubled speech; 11 beats per line. Audience members of the time would

have picked up on this language fault, showing Shakespeare’s keen

ambition to show the audience how characters on stage are feeling. He

constantly keeps the audience attention in mind, and his i...

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...k that is a very

good idea. I mean to say that were I to put on a production of Macbeth

(or perhaps another Shakespeare play) then I would thoroughly research

the actors that Shakespeare originally wrote the parts for, and try to

use actors that correlate to what the bard had in mind. Also, if I

were writing my own play I would try to bear the actors that I had at

my disposal in mind, remembering that this worked very well for

William Shakespeare.

I would feel very confident in analysing other Shakespeare works and

talking about how they can influence my own practical and creative

potential, because it is very useful and broadens my understanding

when I research plays and playwrights. When I work in the industry in

later life then I will use this knowledge from the unit, and take it

into a professional situation.
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