Macbeth by William Shakespeare . A Lecture. I. Shakespeare and His Times. - 1564-1616 -Stratford-on-Avon, England - Queen Elizabeth I - Age of Exploration - English Renaissance of 1500-1650 - Ideas that characterized this period that are important to this play are…[listen to lecture].
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- Queen Elizabeth I
- Age of Exploration
- English Renaissance of 1500-1650
- Ideas that characterized this period that are important to this play are…[listen to lecture].
1. Blank Verse: Be aware of shifts in language like this. For example:
2. Use of figurative language (especially SIMILE and METAPHOR).
• Macbeth and Banquo are not swimming. Neither is drowning. The sergeant is explaining that the two sides of the battle were both exhausted yet each impeding the other’s victory … as two spent swimmers.
• There’s also no whore on the battlefield. But fortune (the mythical figure, blindfolded and spinning her wheel) is smiling – like a woman who gets paid to convince men she loves them – on the rebel’s, Macdonwald’s, cause.
• This is a pretty clear one. Macbeth fights his way to Macdonwaldlike the special favorite or “pet” of valour (bravery, fortitude, etc.).
“Here lay Duncan,/ His silver skin laced with his golden blood;/ And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature/ For ruin's wasteful entrance” [Act II, Scene iii].
1. Throughout the play Lady Macbeth uses very few similes, and these are comparatively straightforward:
2. Macbeth, on the other hand, utters many, many more similes and these are much more complex and “poetic”:
Watch also for …
• valour’s minion
• pity, like a naked newborn babe
• I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
• It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash
• Is added to her wounds. (IV, iii)
• Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
• Clean from my hand? No, this hand will rather
• The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
• Making the green one red. (II,ii)
• … all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand (V,i)
• This is a sorry sight. (II,ii).
Notice how Shakespeare repeats (or repeats and develops) certain themes or phrases:
Insults AKA The John Green Interlude
More on insults
- The Supernatural
- Tragic Hero
- Conflict (Internal)
Macbeth versus Lady Macbeth
- Usage of the term “witch” vs. “Weird Sisters”.
- one who pretends or is supposed to foresee.
- Klotho and Lachesis [next slide].
- Aristotle [next slide]
- Creon vs. Oedipus
- Holinshed’s Chronicles [next slides].
- Macbeth [King of Scots from 1040 – 1057]
- Duncan I, 1034
- Lady Macbeth, granddaughter of Kenneth IV
- Banquo and James I
- Dunsinane, Forres and Inverness [next slides].
Raphael Holinshed (1529–1580) was an English chronicler, whose work, commonly known as Holinshed's Chronicles, was one of the major sources used by Shakespeare for a number of his plays.
“The hat came as far as Calais, but the head was off before the hat was on.”—Holinshed on Bishop of Rochester John Fisher, executed on orders of King Henry VIII before he could receive his cardinal’s hat.
'I will not be afraid of death and bane till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane‘.
Macbeth, Act V, Scene III
Check out Dorothy Dunnett’s King Hereafter. She aims to portray a historical Macbeth, but proposes that Macbeth and his rival and sometime ally Thorfinn of Orkney are one and the same (Thorfinn is his birth name and Macbeth is his baptismal name).
--"A stunning revelation of the historical Macbeth, harsh and brutal and eloquent." --Washington Post Book World.