Macbeth Background. Macbeth. Written sometime around 1606 to commemorate King James I’s ascension to King of England and unification of the Scottish and English crowns.
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Received rule of Scotland as James VI from 1567-1625 when his mother, Mary Queen of Scots (daughter of Elizabeth’s cousin, King James V of Scotland) was removed from the throne by Protestant rebels. He was one year old.
Claimed the English throne when Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, unmarried and heirless.
Claimed succession as the great-grandson of Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s older sister.
The matter was investigated and it was found that a large number of witches (reports vary from 38 to 600) had gathered at North Berwick Kirk in Scotland under the leadership of James’s political enemy and first cousin Lord Bothwell during the time of the unusual storms.
Satan himself alledgedly presided from the altar in the embodiment of Bothwell.
Witnesses testified (under torture) that Satan/Bothwell had bid them to use their magical powers to murder the King.
Equivocation is the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).
Mental reservation is a form of deception which is not an outright lie. It was argued for in moral theology as a way to fulfill obligations both to tell the truth and to keep secrets from those not entitled to know them (for example, because of the seal of the confessional or other clauses of confidentiality).
In wide mental reservation, equivocations are used to imply an untruth that is not actually stated.
In strict mental reservation, the speaker mentally adds some qualification to the words which he utters, and the words together with the mental qualification make a true assertion in accordance with fact.