Shakespeare and Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Biography
 Very little actually known about Shakespeare- most
information is found through Church documents
 Born April 23, 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon (a guess even
since only his baptism is recorded)
 Married to Anne Hathaway in December 1582
 3 children- Suzanne, Judith and Hammnet
 Died on April 23, 1616
Performed most plays in The Globe
Began as a member of Lord
Strange’s players acting company
After that, joined Lord
Chamberlain’s Men
Transitioned to the King’s Men in
Patronage and Monarchs
 Queen Elizabeth was on
the throne when
Shakespeare began
writing his plays
 King James I assumed
the throne in 1603 and
was also a Patron to
 As a result, most of his
plays written during that
era are typically happier
and include more
 As a result, Macbeth is
seen to appeal to James I
(of Scotland) and a
representative of a more
turbulent time
The Types of Plays
 The Comedy- purpose to entertain. Plot lines usually
involve a love story and friends of the lovers (and a
clown) EX: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
 The History- more serious purpose. Records the rise
and fall of great kings. Served as a moral example EX:
Julius Caesar
 The Tragedy- A play with a violent end-disaster as a
result of breaching a fundamental moral law. EX:
Shakespeare’s language
 Blank Verse: Unrhymed
lines of iambic pentameter
 This is the normal form of
speech in Shakespearean
plays for major characters
 Rhymed Verse: couplets of
iambic pentameter, also
called heroic couplets
 Used for supernatural
characters (more than
 Used at the end of a scene
 Used when speaking of
Shakespeare’s Language
 Song
 Prose
 Used to create a
particular mood
 Used for lower class
characters and for
reading from letters or
The 5 Act Play
Shakespeare’s Plays were divided into
5 acts by later publishers of the plays.
His 5 acts are broken down by certain
plot characteristics.
The first complete publication of all
36 of Shakespeare’s plays is called the
First Folio
 Act 1: ProtasisCharacters and situations
are introduced, necessary
exposition, conflict
 Act 2/3: epitasiscomplication starts and
reaches a frenzy
 Act 4: catastrophe- looks
like everything will be
solved, then the solution
goes wrong
 Act 5: catastasis- solution
to all conflicts
Literary Terms to Know
Anachronism: false assignment of event, person, scene, language to a time
when that item was not in existence
Equivocation: the use of expressions with double meaning in order to
mislead the listener; a half truth
Aside: dramatic convention that allows a character on stage to speak aloud his
thoughts, unheard by other characters present
Pathetic fallacy: nature reflecting the deeds of men
Soliloquy: dramatic convention that allows a character alone on stage to
speak aloud his thoughts
Allusion: reference within literary work to person, historical event, work of
Patterns to Note
 Bird
 Deceptive appearances
 Animal
 Irony
 Color
 Sleeplessness
 Clothing
 Flattery to James I
 Darkness/Light
 Reversal of morality (“fair
is foul, foul is fair”)