the tragedy of macbeth by william shakespeare l.
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The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. English 12 Ms. Wymes. Settings. The action of the play takes place in northern Scotland and England. In Scotland, the play is set at or near the following locations: King Duncan’s castle at Forres, Macbeth’s castle at Inverness,

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Presentation Transcript
  • The action of the play takes place in northern Scotland and England.
  • In Scotland, the play is set at or near the following locations:
    • King Duncan’s castle at Forres,
    • Macbeth’s castle at Inverness,
    • Macduff’s castle at Fife,
    • Birnam Wood, or
    • Dunsinane Hill in the countryside.
  • A scene is also set at a castle in England.
character list
Character List

1. Macbeth: protagonist; ambitious army general in Scotland; viewed as a hero at the onset of the play for his success in battle

2. Lady Macbeth: Wife of Macbeth; very persuasive and aggressive in her marriage

3. King Duncan: King of Scotland

4. Malcolm: Oldest son of King Duncan; Prince of Cumberland

5. Donalbain: Youngest son of King Duncan

character list continued
Character List (Continued)

6. Banquo: Army general; good, loyal friend of Macbeth

7. Three Witches: Hags who can predict the future for Macbeth; also called the weird sisters; Weird is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word wyrd, meaning fate. The three witches are also a reference to the three goddesses of fate (Hesiod).

8. Hecate (Witch 4): Mistress of the witches’ charms and queen of Hades; referred to as the Queen of the witches

character list continued5
Character List (Continued)

9. Macduff: Scottish nobleman and Lord of Fife; known for his wisdom and integrity

10. Lady Macduff: Wife of Macduff

11. Son of Macduff

12. Lennox, Ross, Menteith, Angus, Caithness: Scottish noblemen

13. Fleance: Son of Banquo

14. Siward: Earl of Northumberland; general of the English forces

15. Young Siward: Son of Siward

character list final list
Character List (Final List)!

16. Seyton: Officer attending Macbeth

17. Soldier

18. Porter

19. Doctor

20. Old Man

21. Three Apparitions: Three ghosts of great significance for Macbeth; symbolic

the real macbeth
The Real Macbeth
  • Macbeth was an 11th Century Scot who took the throne in 1040 after killing King Duncan I, his cousin, in a battle.
  • The real Macbeth was believed to be a wise monarch who reigned over Scotland for seventeen prosperous years.
  • In 1057, King Duncan’s oldest son, Malcolm, ended Macbeth’s reign by killing him in battle and assuming the role as King Malcolm III.
shakespeare s inspiration
Shakespeare’s Inspiration
  • Shakespeare got his idea for Macbeth from Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles, which tells a different tale using similar characters and references to husband-wife relationships, murder, deceit, and mutiny.
  • Shakespeare was also influenced by the Roman dramatist Seneca (4-65 A.D.), who wrote horrific plays about revenge and murder. Shakespeare appears to be inspired by some of the same themes as Seneca.
witchcraft in shakespeare s day
Witchcraft in Shakespeare’s Day
  • Many people believed in the power of witches in Shakespeare’s day, especially King James I. In 1591, when he was King of Scotland, King James was almost murdered by a group of witches and sorcerers. Their trial and testimony convinced King James that they were sources of evil (witches).
  • King James became the King of England in 1603. Shakespeare knew very well of King James’s superstition, and he also knew that a play about witchcraft would cause a stir and make a quick buck. Therefore, he wrote Macbeth, a play full of elements of evil!
fascinating fact
Fascinating Fact
  • The words blood and night (or forms of them, such as bloody and tonight) occur more than 40 times each in Macbeth.
  • Other commonly occurring words that help maintain the mood of the play are terrible, horrible, black, devil, and evil.

Cummings, Michael J. “Macbeth Study Guide.” (27 Sept. 2006).