Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

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Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s MacbethShakespeare’s Macbeth was written in 1605 and first performed in 1606,in front of King James I (James IV of Scotland) at Hampton Court,London, three years after he ascended to the throne following thedeath of Elizabeth I.

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Like Elizabeth, James was deeply interested in witchcraft andpublished a book in 1597 called Demonology which may have influencedShakespeare. Shakespeare often found inspiration in historical sourcesfor his plays. Shakespeare had used Raphael Holinshed’s account ofScottish history in his Chronicles of England, Scotlandand Irelandpublishedin 1557. However, in turn Holinshed based his account on earliersources. The plot of Macbeth was firstly mentioned in Scotichroniconby John of Fordun in the fourteenth century.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth Duncan is portrayed as a noble and honest manand Macbeth as a tyrant. This is where Shakespeare has changed theoriginal source because in reality Macbeth was a good king who broughtpeace to the country and Duncanwas weak. Changes of the sourceshowever could be seen as a way of catering to the beliefs of thereigning monarch, James.

Also, I think Macbeth could have been influenced by the gunpowder plotwhich was unraveling whilst Shakespeare was writing the play. As GuyFawkes, amongst other people had plotted against the monarchy ofEngland, Macbeth and his wife were plotting to seize the throne inScotland. Also, because of this, Shakespeare intended to put a verystrong message across about the murder of kings and the consequencesof committing the wicked crime within his story of Macbeth.

The enduring story of Macbeth is set in the heart of Scotland in theeleventh century and Scotland at that time was a violent and troubledcountry, “feuding families or clans fought in order to controlterritory; castles were the centre of each rival Thane’s power, andpolitical murder and revenge killings were not unusual methods to gainpower” (www.rsc.org.uk). Macbeth had fought his way up the ranks ofthe army to become one of Duncan’s most trusted Thanes, but an

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