Elizabethan Superstitions In Macbeth

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Out of all of Shakespeare’s plays, it is interesting that Macbeth is the only one that is not set in Italy, but rather Scotland. In the Elizabethan Era, what most attracted audiences was italian references, so there would be little to no benefit for Shakespeare to write Macbeth revolving around Scottish history. Taking into account that Macbeth was written in 1606 and that at the time the royal in charge was King James I of England, formerly King James the VI of Scotland, it made sense for Shakespeare to appeal to his monarch who originated from Scotland. Writers and artists alike often utilized their works as a means of political motives. Although some of Shakespeare’s contemporaries voiced their unhappiness in this way, Shakespeare’s intent…show more content…
During the reign of King James I, many of the superstitions carried over from the Elizabethan Era into what was called the Jacobean Era. In Nathan Drake’s analysis of Shakespeare, he incorporates an extension of the influence of these superstitions on Shakespeare’s time period by quoting Mr. Grose who explained that, “these notions were so prevalent, that it was deemed little less than atheism to doubt them; and in many instances the terrors caused by them embittered the lives of a great number of persons of all ages…” (Drake 155). Because of this preexisting ideology of the supernatural and the effect of court example, much of the king’s own beliefs were widely accepted and even thought to be seemly to adopt his dogmata. To cater to this strong belief system, Shakespeare utilized supernatural omens and characters to rope in his audience of importance. The purpose of omens was usually to warn or indicate future preternatural occurrences. This way of foreshadowing is; “considered as prognostics of good or evil, are frequently introduced by Shakespeare… chiefly as precursors of misfortune that the poet has availed himself of their supposed influence as omens of future fate… ‘Demoniacal voices and shrieks, or monitory intimations and appearances’ … likewise imagined to precede the deaths of important individuals… superstition was formerly very prevalent in England, and still prevails in several districts of Ireland, and in the more remote parts of the Highlands of Scotland”. (Drake

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