'Macbeth' - Regional Writers (1)

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 05-06-18 13:10
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  • 'Macbeth' - Regional Writers (1)
    • How Scottish is 'the Scottish play'?
      • Use  of term focuses a reader/audience on setting of 'Macbeth'
      • Scotland was a homogenised nation
        • A nation reduced to a region
      • James VI and I
        • Arrival created personal connection but still significant differences
        • James I descended from historical Banquo
        • Personal union of England, Ireland, and Scotland under James I
        • Each country remained its own political entity, retaining separate political, legal and religious institutions
        • Presided over the King's men, the company Shakespeare wrote and acted for
        • Speech to the Upper House of Parliament, Monday 19th 1603
          • ‘What God hath conjoined let no man separate. I am the husband and the whole isle is my lawful wife; I am the head and it is my body;
          • I am the shepherd and it is my flock. I hope therefore that no man will think that I, a Christian King under the Gospel, should be a polygamist and husband to two wives;
          • that I being the head should have a divided or monstrous body or that being the shepherd to so fair a flock should have my flock’,
      • Gap between historical record and Shakespeare's tragedy that elides and/or transforms its Scottishness
    • Stability and tranquillity in England changed by Gunpowder Plot
      • Likened by historians to psychological effect of 9/11
      • Equivocator
        • Henry Garnet (Plotter for gunpowder plot) - 'Macbeth uses language associated with gunpowder plot
          • 'an equivocator; that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven' (2.3.9-12)
    • Macbeth disallowed in literature curriculum
      • felt Macbeth was a distortion of history and an attempt by English to misrepresent Scotland
    • Real v. fictional Macbeth
      • Real-life Macbeth
        • Venerated
        • Occupied office of steward in Moray (very prominent political position)
          • Moray was a buffer region between the Viking territories and the rest of Scotland
        • Duncan died in battle
          • after entering into battle with Macbeth and his forces
        • Kingship of Macbeth was never in doubt (as he was buried in Iona, the resting place of Scottish Kings)
        • Macbeth killed in battle in 1057 by forces led by future Malcolm III
        • Macbeth reigns relatively peacefully for 17 years (1040-1057)
      • Macbeth in the play
        • Regicide - killing king for no good reason
        • Usurper - took power that wasn't rightly his and even then behaved as a tyrannical ruler
        • Becomes a tyrant
        • Butcher - gets other to kill for him after having killed Duncan himself
    • Holinshed''s Chronicles
      • Chronicles history of Macbeth - Shakespeare researched these chronicles to write the play
      • Witches taken from Holinshed's chronicles
      • Duncan is better at punishment in the play than in Holinshed's chronicles
      • Duncan
        • 'The beginning of Duncans reigne was verie quiet and peaceable,...but after it was perceiued how negligent he was in punishing offenders, manie misruled persons tooke occasion...to trouble the peace...of the common-wealth, by seditious commotions'
      • Macbeth
        • 'Instituted commendable laws'; 'In the beginning of his reigne he accomplished manie woorthie acts...but afterward by illusion of the diuell, he defamed the same with most terrible crueltie'
    • Wyntoun, Boece, Bellenden
      • Macbeth as a good ruler with support of noblility
      • Becomes a poor ruler after 10 years, not immediately
      • Historical works, Shakespeare researched to write play
      • Macbeth made a thane, not a steward, or king by Wyntoun


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