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.



Shakespeare blog party on his birthday (tomorrow)

Shakespeare born 23Apr1564 and died 23Apr1616. Tomorrow I will be hosting a blog party.

Assuming record of his birth and death dates accurate then it is not that uncommon to die on birthday. I would say statistically the odds are similar if dying on any day so statistically people do die on birthday. Anyway getting that out of way so tomorrow will not be so morbid.


Come back tomorrow, to join in the blog party.

Shakespeare blog party invite

Now Live – Spring Blog Party

Attending a spring blog …week today I will be hosting Shakespeare blog party!!!

Welcome to Scale it Simple’s Spring Blog Party!

If you have been looking for the perfect way to spend a low-key Easter Sunday then you are in the right place!

What better way to spend some downtime than by meeting fellow bloggers, eating chocolate, drinking tea and reading some awesome blog posts?

The rules are simple.

1. Choose one of your favorite blog posts from your own blog. Any and all kinds of posts are welcome.(Untasteful or inappropriate posts will be removed.) You can share up to three links. Wait some time in between your posts for best results.Your Invite

2. Paste the link in the comment section of this post and write a little bit about yourself and/or your blog.

3. Share this party on at least one social media platform in order to invite your blogging pals. The more the merrier!

4. Now grab some chocolate, a glass of your…

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Why Mental Health Matters at Work – Depression in the Workplace

Per my previous post this shows how the later mental health issues are left untreated the worse the problem can become. A diagram in this shows cost of initial therapy in America compared to costs for if leads to other problems such as hospitalisation and prison sentences. It does not mention cost of homelessness but definitely whatever the cost finicially it is best for everyone not least individuals coping with mental health issues to receive help before lose job and home. Unfortunatly one factor in increase homelessness in UK is cuts to mental health budgets.

Green River College

Depression is often a topic that goes unspoken and it’s time to start talking openly about depression so people can feel empowered to seek help if needed.  Many people suffer in silence, afraid of the stigma associated with depression but depression is like any other treatable medical condition. Risk Factors

Everyone goes through a variety of moods throughout the day. You might be happy one minute and angry about something a few hours later. But depression involves a consistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

Approximately one in ten working-age people will experience depression, that’s millions of people and most don’t even realize they are depressed.  They might think “I’m just in a fog” or “having a bad day.”  If those bad days start accumulating you might be depressed. Other symptoms may include trouble making decisions, lack of interest in…

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Prioritizing mental health

Stigma of Mental Health and Homelessness. Earlier this week as part of my lent Contemplation I was thinking about the stigma of homelessness. I mainly focused on persepective that family problems either death of parents, having to leave care or relationship breakdowns leaving someone isolated. However, mental health issues can also lead to homelessness if mental health issues cause relationship issues, prevent people working so lose home or mental health issues can lead to drug use and in turn homelessness. Therefore it is important that there is no stigma to asking for mental health issues or drug use issues as not asking for help can mean the problem become bigger.

The Catalysts for Change

And the stigmatization of mental illness.

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Penultimate This Is US further evidence of my theories (contains spoilers)

  • Near the end Kate say’s I can not talk about my Fsther’s death … could it be because he is not dead?
  • She goes on to say her fault but was she driven to do something because of abuse at his hands?This is US random theory from someone mid series
  • The final This Is US has not yet been shown in the UK so I do not know how it ends, but loving seeing it played out. In the meantime I have tried to …


Lent Contemplation 1st April: Summary of money collected.

Up to 13th March: £2.25

Tuesday 14th March: As finically secure collect 50p.

Thursday 16th March: about 20 whatsapp between family so collect 40p.

Monday 21st March: no stangers met. 0 collected.

Wednesday 22nd March: 2 trains collected 60p.
Thursday 23rd March: 2 car journeys collect 20p.

Saturday 25th March: 33 nightstops collected 33p.

Wednesday 29th March: hosted people about 76 times collect £1.54

Thursday 30th March: I can save for future. Collected £1.

Total: £6.82

Round up to nearest pound: £7

Total £7