Macbeth Historical Lens Analysis

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Historical Lens Impact on Macbeth The historical lens allows the reader to understand the time periods effect on the text through significant effects. In Macbeth, Shakespeare portrays this lens very effectively through the plot of the play. Macbeth took place in Scotland during the Middle Ages where political ambition had a big impact on society. The political warfare lead to the demise of many of the people during the time and led Macbeth to his own demise. There was also traditions and beliefs that many of the people had to conform to for the sake of their lives like witches and success lineages. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the historical lens highlights the time period woven into the play through the witchcraft, literature, and Celtic tradition…show more content…
In Scotland the majority belief was that witches can make prophecies and affect outcomes. Witchcraft was seen as an evil practice with the devil that was a threat to social stability. The Scottish took great measures to try to limit witchcraft. King Kenneth threatened to burn anyone planning on calling spirits. Witches could influence people's ideas and thoughts and Shakespeare portrayed this, “I’ll drain him dry as hay. Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his penthouse lid. He shall live a man forbid. Weary sev’nights, nine times nine, Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine. Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tossed. Look what I have” (Shakespeare 1.3.18-26). In the scene a sailor's wife refused to share chestnuts and by doing so lead the witches to make him infertile. During the time people did not want to anger a witch because they could decide a person’s future. The people believed in the spiritual nature and there was no doubt for their the sake of their lives. People were very weary of witches and most people stood clear to not get attached to bad fortune. Literature from the time period like Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland was a major reason in the plot and character development. King Malcolm throne passing to his grandsons Duncan I and Macbeth originated from the Chronicles. Another aspect taken was the murderer…show more content…
If the assassination Could trammel up the consequences, and catch With his surcease success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases We still have judgement here…” (Macbeth 1.7.1-8). Macbeth passes back and forth trying to justify his reason for killing Duncan. He wants to become the leader and King but he understand if everything does not work out perfectly he could be punished beyond measure. If there was no consequences he would assassinate Duncan with no worries but committing treason worries him. In Holinshed's works, the guilty conscience is also a message through King Kenneth after he butchered his nephew. King Kenneth conscience tormented him about how the eternal God will forever know and will punish him and he believes he deserves
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