Macbeth Context and Themes

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  • Supernatual- King James published "Demonology" in 1605. it is though that Shakespeare wrote the play to appeal to King James' interest in the supernatural.
  • Divine Right- The Divine Right of Kings originated in the middle ages. Attempts to remove the king was thought to against God, therefore sacrilegious to go against the natural order- disturbance in nature the night of Duncan's muder.
  • The Gunpowder Plot- year b4, plot to kill James 1, echoes of gplot seen in plot to kill Duncan.
  • The Court- Powerful in Shakespeare's day, showing Duncan as a weak king as well as Malcolm as a strong King Shakespeare presents a balanced and potentially radical view of Monarchy.


  • Ambition- Macbeth'a tragic flaw. M&LM are guilt of this, their "vaulting ambition" that results in their moral, spiritual and pyshical demise. Macbeth is focused on finding ways to keep his hold on the throne.
  • Guilt- Both M/LM are tormented by guilt, both slowly become mad played by the guilt of their actions…


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