Macbeth Context

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  • Created on: 01-11-16 21:19
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Macbeth Context
Shakespeare wrote "Macbeth" in 1606 at this time James the 1st had just become king
therefore, the play is written in a darker, more cynical mood to reflect on the Jacobean period.
King James I was not very popular with someone people because he was not the proper
descendant of Queen Elizabeth which was one of the reason the Gunpowder plot occurred. This is
very similar to the Macbeth's situation and why some people were not happy with him.
Alternatively, the play might be a warning to `king killers' such as Macbeth, alerting them of the
ugly fate they may face like the people involved in the Gunpowder plot.
In the Middle Ages, there was a religious theory called "The Great Chain of Being" which was a
belief that stated every king was ordained by God. It was also believed that any opposition to a
King was an attack on God which was a terrible sin therefore, Macbeth may have experienced
some of his fate because he was not bestowed by God to be king.
In the Shakespearian Era, there was an obsession with the supernatural. People thought that the
Devil was a constant threat to their souls and would lead them to hell. Many had a fascination with
witchcraft, a lot of women were accused of being witches at this time. This is due to the fact that
King James I published a book called "Demonology" which sparked lots of interest in people.
Therefore, Shakespeare used the theme in his play and appealed to King James I to gain
publicity for it. The groundlings particularly liked this play because it was relatable to them.


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