Is it Shakespeare’s birthday today?

As it is unclear when Shakespeare was born, the party 🎉 continues untill anniversary of his christening on 26th April.

Most people would say yesterday. But there is no official record of his birth. The nearest there is, is record of his christening on 26th April. In those times generally babies were christened 3 days after birth due to high infant mortality. Maybe Shakespeare was christened day he was born or day after?


To be safe to the party 🎉 continues untill 26th April.

Still time to:

Comment on the party as regards favourite Shakespeare play. Currently Macbeth is looking like the favourite; do you agree or disagree.

Taka quiz to see what Shakespearean character you are.

Can you come up with a playlist of Shakesperean themed songs for example Stay or Hello by Shakespeare sister and Romeo by Basement Jaxx.


Or write a post about anything you like connected to Shakespeare and post link in party 🎉 comments. For example, favourite Shakespeare inspired film, reviews of performances have seen or imagined conversations with Shakespeare characters. Or comment why Shakespeare overrated, should it be taught in school, if so how?

Click link below to enter the party.

Shakespeare blog party continuing untill 26th April

On this quintessential sunny Sunday afternoon. The pimms is flowing …

At Shakespeare’s bar by the river in Richmond. Deeper in the city sweaty runners have run the London marathon. Here it is glamorous as St George’s day and Shakespeare’sbirthday are celebrated.

Not yet middsumers , however, the Sun in shining and thirsts are being quenched with pimms and gins and tonics.

Lady Macbeth and Henry Macbeth’s feisty granddaughters flirt with their suitors who use lines like ‘shall I compare these to a summers day’. Inside Portia props up the bar; she may let men buy here drinks but it means nothing; she will not settle for just anyone.

Come and join the party.

Shakespeare blog party 🎉 on this sunny Sunday afternoon


My GCSE coursework from many moons ago: Lady Macbeth on the programme ‘In the Phychiarist Chair’



I = Interviewer M =Lady Macbeth

I: Our guest today is Lady Elizabeth Macbeth. She was born on 26th May 1565 at her family’s home in the North of Scotland. She was the first daughter to her parents; John and Elizabeth Hendy. Her parent’s already had two sons; John and Donald; they went on to have two more daughters; Mary and Jane, as well as another son; Raymond. Unfortunately Lady Macbeth’s Mother died giving birth to her youngest son, when Lady Macbeth was only sixteen, leaving her to care for her younger sisters and bother as well as her frail Father, who died four years later. Shortly after her Father’s death Lady Macbeth married her husband Henry Macbeth and moved into his family home. This is where her first daughter; Elizabeth was born just a year later. Subsequently she had another daughter; Anne as well as two sons; Henry and Roy.

Lady Macbeth was educated at home. Her Father taught her to read which helped her with Bible study. Her Mother taught her the necessary house keeping skills which she now puts into practice. Lady Macbeth which parent, do you feel you had the closest relationship with?

M: I was always my Father’s little girl. My Mother seemed so boring, she was so unambitous. I think it is important to have ambitions, if you are to stand any chance of getting anywhere. Consequently I did not want to be like her. I think I was my Father’s favourite daughter, although he did not say so, my family was never good at showing affection.

I: Do you feel you are good at showing affection?

M: I’m not as good as I should be. I love my husband deeply, but I find it hard to say so. The closest I usually get to showing him affection is occasionally calling him pet names like ‘My Lord’. But it is much easier to criticise him. I try showing him affection by organising his life, but sometimes I think I come across as bossy. I’m capable of being pleasant but I get tired of doing it. I’m expected to fuss around Macbeth and his friends never say a word against them, but when I’m alone with Macbeth I can say what I like and I’m afraid I can be very nasty to him.

I: You mentioned you did not want to be like your Mother, but are you?

 M: I hope that I’m more ambitious than my Mother. I know that I’m more ambitious than Henry, he has ideas but does not seriously try to achieve them unlike me. Despite this  my life has followed a similar pattern to my Mother’s. I got married, had children and now my job is to be host to my husband’ friends; I’m just like all women.

I: How did you feel when you became a Mother yourself?

M: It was just another chapter in my life. It meant for a while, I had more people who depended on me.

I: Do you think you are a good Mother?

M: I bought up my children properly. But they did not know how much, I loved them because I never told them. They never come to me for advice about personal matters, I’m not good with my own emotions so I certainly am not good with other people’s. Now my children have grown up and they do not know I loved them.

I: Are you proud of your children?

M: My sons have achieved a lot. I’m a bit envious of what they have achieved, they have lived the life I wanted to live. When I was young I did not understand that men are expected to do some things and women others. I just wanted to go hunting with my Father and brothers. I’ve never told anyone this, but once I did have a go at hunting. I discovered I can hunt, just as well as any man. It was an exhilarating experience, having so much power and I loved rebelling. It saddened me when my daughter’s were younger that they would live the same life as me, my Mother, her Mother and their daughters would do the same. Women are weak because we are encouraged to have emotions. Men can block out how they feel, so they are strong. I would like to rid myself of female instincts and I have tried to. I think k this is another reason I treat Henry the way I do.

I: Do you ever feel depressed?

M: There are many things which depress me, one is the way women are treated.

I: Would you say you feel, suppressed because you are a woman?

M: Sometimes I feel I’m just supposed to follow the script. At social gatherings, I must make the same polite conversation. I hear the same stories of great triumphs when hunting, from all men. Each individual, thinks they have done, something really special and feels the need to tell me about it, in great detail, despite thinking I’m just a woman and do not understand. But I do understand, how could I not understand? I have heard the same thing, so many times but in so many different words, words that go in one word and out the other. I want to tell them to shut up, but instead just reply yes or no, where I think I should.

I: Did you have to do this with your Father?

M: No he was different; he was special.

I: In what ways do you feel you are like your Father?

M: I’m impulsive; like he was. If I decide to do something, I will do it, an example of this is marrying Macbeth so after he proposed. As a result of my Father’s death, I was in the relatively unique position of being able to decide for myself, whether to marry him. My older brothers said I should wait a while and that I was just missing my Father and trying to replace him. I ignored my brother’s. I knew what I wanted, so I accepted Macbeth’s proposal the next day and we married within the month.

I: Do you think you were trying to replace your Father by marrying Macbeth?

M: Macbeth is very different to my Father, he is less independent. I think when my Father died, I needed to feel needed. But, I did marry Macbeth because I loved him and not to replace my Father who I missed a lot.

I: Did you miss your Mother in the same way?

M: No I did not because I was not as close to her.

I: Are you like your Mother in any way?

M: I think like me, my Mother needed to feel needed. That is why she enjoyed Motherhood.

I: Do you think handling death becomes easier?

M: Everyone handles death in different ways. My way of coping was to find someone who needs me. This is what I did after the death of both my parents. After my Father’s desth as I’ve already explained I found Macbeth. Following my Mother’s death, I had my new little brother to care for. I think finding someone to care for, so soon after my Mother’s desth made it easier to deal with than my Father’s death. But not feeling so strongly about my Mother also helped. experience coping with death does not mae it easier, every experience is different.

I: Recently, your husband behaved strangely at a dinner party you held. Apparently because he saw Banquo’s ghost. Why do you think this happened?

M: Banquo was a great fiend of ours. Macbeth could not handle his grief, so hallucinated.

I: Did you try to comfort your husband?

M: Of course I did. He was temporarily reassured. However, then he became distressed again, I asked our guests to leave, as I knew he was not going to calm down with so many people around. On my own, I was able to sooth him.

I: Our King Duncan was killed in your house, how do you feel about this?

M: I feel guilty although I know there is nothing I could have done. His death is something I do not particularly like talking about I find it hard to believe his sons, could do such a thing.

I: Do you think punishment for murder should be death?

M: Death is an easy way out; it allows you to forget what has happened. If you have to live for life, you punish yourself for ever.

I: Has Macbeth being made king brought you closer to God?

M: No I do not think it was right that God let Duncan be murdered.

I: What is the worse thing you have ever done?

M: I have done something so bad, so bad that I can not tell you what it is.

I: Were you punished for this?

M: I’m punishing myself. When you do something as bad as what I have done, the only way you can escape from its hold which haunts you is by dying.

I: Is sleep away of escaping?

M: Some parts of me may sleep, but my mid does not. Images of the crimes I have committed haunt me during my sleep. I desperately try to cleanse myself, but it is impossible. My maid says I sleep walk and cry “Out they damned spot”. Not remembering I have done this in the morning frightens me.

I: Do you ever feel you can put right, what you have done?

M: I would have to turn back time, to put things right. But I can not. Instead I just want to escape.

I: Instead I just want to escape.

M: I do not feel, I have a future as it is a plagued by what I have done.

I: Are you a greedy person?

M: I can be greedy. When I sinned, I wanted something so badly and was prepared to do wrong to get it; but at the same time I wanted to keep my polished image.

I: Is what people think of you important?

M: Not as important as it was. I hate having to go to all the trouble of living a lie. At any moment, someone could find out what I have done. That would be disastrous, because despite not liking my life at the moment, I do want to maintain my reputation.

I: Maybe if you shared your experience it would help?

M: I can not do that, other people are involved who I must protect.

I: Do you wonder, why you do certain things?

M: A lot of things, I do are done on the spur of the moment as I’m impulsive. Being impulsive, can be an advantage, it means I get what I want. But at times I do not think first. I just rush into things, which has disastrous results.

I: What do you not like about yourself?

M: Being a woman.

I: Before you committed this sin, did you enjoy your life?

M: I had a set routine, which I thought was boring, but at least I felt comfortable with it.

I: Because you have been denied opportunities as a result of being a woman, do you wonder what you could have achieved and feel curious about yourself?

M: Yes I do feel I have been denied opportunities to reach my potential.

I: How do you feel about talking about yourself, like you have been?

M: I feel exposed. I have told you some of my deepest secrets. Thinking about it I do feel uncomfortable, that you know so much about me. Being known so well by someone, makes you vulnerable, they can use what they know to harm you.

I: Don’t worry Lady Macbeth you can feel safe confiding in us. We are grateful, you took the time to talk to us. I would like to thank you and also our listeners, who I hope will tune in next week when another celebrity will be in the Psychiatrist’s chair.










GCSE English Coursework from many moons ago: Macbeth Historian’s analysis

I feel it is right to begin by introducing myself; I’m professor Archibold Macleod. Analysing Macbeth has been a project which i have wanted to do for sometime. Macbeth was set in my homeland of Scotland, consequently this play has always had a special place in my heart. Macbeth features a number of themes which were topical when the play was written in Elizabethan / Jacobean times. Elizabethan / Jacobean times have always fascinated me, because of the interesting beliefs people of the time had; which i have explored in this piece.

It is likely that Shakespeare was commissioned to write Macbeth by king James. There are a number of facts, which suggest this. Firstly Macbeth was almost certainly first performed in 1606 at Hampton Court to celebrate the visit of King James’ bother in law King Christian IV of Denmark. King James was art of the Stuart dynasty. King James succeeded Queen Elizabeth I to the English throne in 1603, he was already experienced at holding this position, as he was King of Scotland. King James, like I always retained a deep affection for Scotland, so would have appreciated a play set in his homeland like Macbeth was.

Elizabethan’s strongly believed in the idea of framework; everything in the universe had a place in the universe. Kings had a divine nature; they were considered the highest authority on Earth as they had been appointed by God. God was at the top of the hierarchy; people believed he controlled everything. If anything happened which changed the order of society, it was said the balance of the university had been disturbed and this would cause strange events to occur. In Macbeth Banquo who is the King is killed by Macbeth who is then appointed King. This disturbed the universe balance and strange events are mentioned in the text after the King’s murder for example “A falcon towering in her pride of place.Was by mousing owl hawked at and killed”. Also “Duncan’s horses … turned wild …tis said they eat each other”.

King James would have approved of Shakespeare showing that if Kings were not appointed by God, things begin to go wrong. He would have felt like this, not only because it put emphasis on the great and goodness of Kings but also because he had survived an attempted assassination. The events that occurred in Macbeth after the Kings’s murder would have demonstrated to King James’ subjects, that to attempt to overthrow a King was an insult to God and therefore act as a deterrent to plotting to kill King James.

in 1605 people had conspired to hill the King, in what is known as the Gunpowder plot. The line in Macbeth     “Look like the innocent flower. But be the a serpent under it” references the Gunpowder plot as to commemorate the King’s lucky escape a coin which made, which had a snake concealed by flowers. This was appropriate as Edward Digby who had been a favourite of the king was involved in the conspiracy. This is an example of how good can hide evil, which is a theme that occurs throughout the play.

In Macbeth one of the witches talk about causing a ship to be wrecked “O’th tiger, but in sieve I’ll thither sail”. This references a shipwreck that occurred whilst Shakespeare was writing a play as mention of a current event helped to engage the public with the pay. in what was a modern up to date play for its time it is appropriate that witches were included as this reflected the public’s interest in witches and the supernatural. During Elizabethan / Jacobean times all over Europe thousands of women were accused of witchcraft. Commonly it was elderly women who was accused of causing events such as bad weather, crop failure and bringing disease and death to communities. These women were punished until they confessed, when they confessed they were punished by being executed. Most women confessed to end the suffering inflicted by torture.

The public’s interest in the supernatural was partly influenced by King James’ interest in the subject. King James was actively involved in the fight against witches. In 1657 King James book entitled Demonology (which is the study of the supernatural) was published. in 1591 King James publically spoke out about witches when he was in Edinburgh. He spoke about how being a witch was a sin which should be punishable by death. In 1604 which was during his second year as King of England he passed strict laws including:

“If ay person shall use invocation or conjunction of any evil or cursed spirit; or shall consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed or reward any evil or cursed spirit to or for any intent or purpose every such person being convicted should suffer death”.

A lot of rime was spent searching for witches. individuals were employed as witch finders., their role was to search the bodies of those suspected of being witches for the devil’s mark. The devils mark was considered to be the mark left after the devil had sucked drops of blood of a person to make them his. Lady Macbeth saying “Out that damned spot” would have resonated with an Elizabethan / Jacobean audience; they would have taken it to be a sign that she was possessed by the devil.

In the play there are several scenes featuring the witches, these appear to be extremely imaginative. However, Shakespeare himself will not have completely created the witches himself. He will have been inspired by some of the many writings about whitches and the contents of their cauldron which were in circulation at the time. For example, he may have had the idea for the conversation about the shipwreck from a book which told the story of Agnes Sampson who was accused of being a witch in 1592 for example this extract “She revealed also that whitches had used incarnations to raise a storm to wreck Queen Anne’s ship on its way to Scotland”.

IN my opinion based on my extensive study Shakespeare was commissioned to write Macbeth by King James and consequently he used the text of Macbeth to flatter king James. The appearance of 8 kings before Banquo in Act 4 Scene 1 links him to King James; although some of my colleagues would disagree I consider King James to be a descent of Banquo. Shakespeare’s use of Banquo; mentioning him at the same time as the 8 kings which symbolise King James’ heritage of Kingship shows he agreed with me and believed Banquo was the source of Stuart royalty.

Some historical sources which i have studied, imply that Banquo was involved in the murder of Duncan. This further supports my theory that Shakespeare was commissioned to write Macbeth by king James as the king would have been grateful for this alteration as he would not have wanted to be such events that could damage his reputation. Ed 2017 if I was writing this now I could have mention King James was grateful of this alternative truth. James was very wary of anything  which could threaten his monarchy, this is not surprising after the Gunpowder plot.

in conclusion, I would like to say Macbeth is a very useful source about Elizabethan / Jacobean times. It is a useful source because it gives you an insight to many issues that affected what life was like at the time for example, belief in the power of the supernatural and the order of good society, But if you want an accurate account of what life was like in Elizabethan times it was sensible to consult other sources as well as Macbeth was properly written for King James, it is liable to be biased in favour of the King rather than an accurate historical account.

Ed 2017 Typing this it seems I made the same point over and over again; if you bore with it to the end you have incredible patience. Or maybe I did it on purpose to be in the character of Archebold – what was I thinking?! Perhaps it would have been better to do for and against arguments for whether it was a good source for information about Elizabethan / Jacobean times.