• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10

Macbeth was first performed in 1606 in front of King James I at Hampton Court, London. William Shakespeare wrote the play soon after the gunpowder plot was discovered.

Extracts from this document...


Macbeth was first performed in 1606 in front of King James I at Hampton Court, London. William Shakespeare wrote the play soon after the gunpowder plot was discovered. He wrote the play to warn people that if you plan against the king terrible things will happen to you. The gunpowder plot was planned to take place on the 5th November 1605 led by Guy Fawkes and some companions. They decided to kill King James because he was not a popular King in those times for many reasons one of them being that he would give away land to unpopular Scottish Lords. Their plot was unsuccessful and they where sentenced to death. King James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth on the English Throne in 1603. He was a member of the Stuart dynasty and already King of Scotland. Macbeth was an old Scottish King in real life, In Macbeth he was influenced by the w?ird sisters. Macbeth We get to see a major downfall in Macbeth's Character. In the play he has influences that help in his downfall. Macbeth's influences are Lady Macbeth, the w?rd sisters and himself. We get to see in the play that Macbeth's character changes from being a brave soldier at the battlefield to then turing to evil and witchcraft and back again to becoming a brave soldier. "O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman" at the beginning of the play everyone has the most respect for Macbeth and they all think he is a brave soldier and he will not do anything wrong to harm his country. "Banquo is the enemy" the witches prophecies has driven him so mad that Macbeth believes his best friend Banquo is his enemy. "Before my body, I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Maduff, And damned be him that first cries,'Hold, enough." Macbeth has now gone back to being a brave soldier because he knows that the witches prophecies had double meanings and Macduff can kill him. ...read more.


It is Lady Macbeth who states "Thou wouldst be great/ Art not without ambition." Macbeth states that it is "his besetting sin: I have no spur/ to prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition." Macbeth's continued ambition is present in his wanting to have a succession of kings after him. Macbeth's ambition is deep within him and because of this, both the witches and Lady Macbeth is able to sway him to evil. It is this ambition that gets him into so much trouble initially. Once Macbeth kills for the first time, he has no choice but to continue to cover up his wrong doings, or risk losing everything he has worked so hard for. In the end, it all comes to Macbeth himself. Everyone is responsible for his own destiny. This is an essential theme in this tragedy. Macbeth chooses to gamble with his soul and when he does this it is only him who chooses to lose it. He is responsible for anything he does and must take total accountability for his actions. Macbeth is the one who made the final decision to carry out his actions. He made these final decisions and continued with the killings to cover that of King Duncan. However where as some facts show that the results were all of his own doing, in act IV he returns to the witches voluntarily to find out his fate in order to see what actions he should take. This shows that maybe the witches did have a great influence on his actions. The killing of Duncan starts an unstoppable chain of events in the play that ends with the murder of Macbeth and the suicide of Lady Macbeth. Macbeth chooses to murder Duncan. Macbeth, in the beginning had all of the qualities of an honourable gentleman who could become anything. This is all shattered when his ambition overrides his sense of morality. ...read more.


She denies her conscience until she cannot anymore, then apparently goes mad. One question remains - Why did Shakespeare use Lady Macbeth as a cause for the murder of Duncan? To answer this, we need to look at the history of Scotland. The real Macbeth was born around 1005, son of the second daughter of the King, Malcolm II. His wife's name was Gruoch. Her brother and her first husband both died at the hands of Malcolm's followers, who were headed by the son of Malcolm's first daughter, the man who became his successor, King Duncan I of Scotland. Avenging his wife and disputing the throne, Macbeth, Thane of Cromarty and Moray, brought Duncan's rule to an abrupt end: on 14 August 1040, Duncan was mortally wounded in a battle at Pitgaveny after six years as King. Macbeth reigned for a further seventeen years before he was killed in a skirmish at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. The vengeance of his wife's brother and first husband were the reason Macbeth killed Duncan, and it may have been his wife who persuaded him to take vengeance. Therefore, we can assume that Shakespeare originally had Lady Macbeth as the real driving force, but added the witches for the benefit of King James I, and the ambition of Macbeth for the audience and for the story. Looking at the evidence I have shown in this essay, I can determine that Lady Macbeth was a major driving force behind the assassination, but Macbeth's ambition and the witches prophecies played an important part in the final outcome. Without the witches' prophetic statements the chain reaction ending in the death of Duncan may never have started. Without Macbeth's ambition, Lady Macbeth may not have been able to persuade Macbeth to commit murder for a crown. Without Lady Macbeth's ruthless determination, Duncan would most probably not have been murdered. I can therefore determine that Lady Macbeth was a Driving force behind the murder of Duncan. Phillip Hogbin - 11 H 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Lady Macbeth change throughout the play, "Macbeth"?

    5 star(s)

    For example her lines "Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so pale," are similar to II.ii where she says "Get on your nightgown... Be not lost / So poorly in your thoughts." This highlights how distraught she is that she is so separated from Macbeth that she desperately recalls previous moments when they did share things together.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Analysis of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    He then seems to settle himself, and apologises to his guests before proposing a toast of general good health to them all, and to Banquo. At this point, the situation seems to have been salvaged but then the Ghost re-enters and once again and Macbeth explodes into violent language, through obvious sheer fear.

  1. Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

    "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't". Here she is explaining how she would have killed gracious King Duncan herself had it not been for the fact that he looked like her father whilst he slept.

  2. How do the Witches in Macbeth Reflect contemporary ideas of witchcraft? Are the Witches ...

    He is pointing to the ghost and saying to someone in his olden English, 'look, there he is! Can't you see him?' The only explanation for his confusion is if no one else can see the ghost except him. It is important to make one thing clear before I make my next point.

  1. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    More so in the 1600's when the play was performed to Shakespeare's own audience, the visitor to the theatre would perhaps speculate that God was on Duncan's, and therefore Macbeth's side, as Macbeth had won this battle against astounding odds.

  2. To what extent is Macbeth wholly responsible for his ruin, which destroys not only ...

    They are torn between what is morally correct; regicide was deemed the most scandalous breech of law in the country at the time. The ruling sovereign had the divine right of kings meaning that Macbeth was a fallible monarch. However, on the other hand, he was their King and they were expected to show a ruler unconditional respect.

  1. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    The first part of this line ("Till...Chaps") would suggest Macbeth's superiority as a soldier, his courage and that he is a model for all men under his command. The second part of the line ("And...battlements") shows that he is loyal to the king and punishes traitors. Ironically, it will be Macbeth who becomes the biggest traitor of

  2. How Does Shakespeare Present the Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    This shows that she is feeling very guilty and is starting to regret murdering Duncan. Macbeth is also full of guilt, "better be with the dead than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy." This suggests that he would rather be dead with Duncan, than alive, feeling guilty.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work