The Tragedy of Macbeth: The Sources of the Play

Macbeth -Conforms to the general rule of Renaissance tragedies which the drama had to be about real people whose deeds are recorded in history-Renaissance comedies concerned with imaginary doings of fictitious characters-Main events of Macbeth’s career as king of Scotland from Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland
Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland Provided Shakespeare with historical material for many of his plays
Historical Macbeth had more legitimate claim to King Duncan’s throne than Shakespeare’s Macbeth did-Historical Macbeth gained the throne with the help of other nobles dissatisfied with King Duncan
Shakespeare’s Macbeth -Had no supporters except his wife -Reign of Macbeth and wife brings nothing but disaster to Scotland
Changes in Holinshed’s story Was to test at a safe distance the events and attitudes of the audiences during his time
Contemporary audiences have lost sight of the scandal that was a backdrop of the play Gunpowder Plot 1605Several Catholics plotted to blow up King James I and his Protestant Parliament
To the Elizabethan audience Macbeth was a thriller
Threat to an anointed king and the perceived evil behind it Relived in Macbeth’s complete theater to the social order in a Scotland of the distant past
Shakespeare altered the text because: -He wanted to pay homage to his own king and county-Intended for an audience of his particular moment in history -Shakespeare was more interested in psychological truth than in historical fact
Macbeth must have please King James especially because he had just recently survived the Gunpowder plot and was also interested in attacks on Kings-James always defended the idea that he ruled by the divine right-James refused to sit through long plays, which is why many think that is the reason why Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays
Scholars were thought that Macbeth as a play written for a command performance at court, though no proof for that
Macbeth is also about real people -People who are tempted by ambition and power and are caught up in a web of wants and needs-Shakespeare transcends the historical Macbeth and gives us a portrait and a play for all times
Seeds of Tragedy Often lie in the most insignificant or excusable actions
Shakespeare’s tragic hero Macbeth -does not commit petty or insignificant crimes-his great ambition and corrosive guilt compel our our understanding-He deliberately murders one of his fellowmen and then must immediately kill two more, where he can no longer turn away from his evil course-Lusts for power that brings him destruction
Tragedy A king of play in which human actions have inevitable consequences, in which the characters’ ad deeds, errors, mistakes, and crimes are never forgiven or rectifiedWork depicting serious events in which the main character, who is often high-ranking and dignified, comes to an unhappy endill-judged action will remorselessly lead to a catastrophe, usually but not necessarily a death or multiple deaths
Setting Scotland and England

You Might Also Like