Macbeth takes place in Scotland, in the middle of the eleventh century.
During that time, Scotland
officially was a kingdom, but ruled mostly by pretty independent barons
The play Macbeth is based on real events: the power-struggle in the middle
of the eleventh
century. The real Macbeth ruled Scotland between 1040 and 1057, but the
play doesn't follow that
exactly. The main characters are not invented, but I doubt that their
personalities do accord to
those in the play.
At the beginning of the play there has been a revolt against the Scottish
king, by the rebel
Macdonwald, in which the formerly loyal Thane of Cawdor became a traitor.
Also the king of
Norway has provided troops for Macdonwald. The actions shown in the play
are however mainly
taking place either in the palace or in Macbeths' castle.
You can easily tell that Shakespeare's plays were meant to attract men;
Shakespeare used quite
brutal expressions when describing battles, for instance, and the very plot
- including murder,
treachery and war - was designed for men.
A good example is this report of
the battle against the
traitor Macdonwald: "...brave Macbeth...reeking from bloody
execution...carved out his
passage...till he unseamed him [Macdonwald] from the nave to the chaps, and
fixed his head
upon our battlements". I don't think that makes many women excited (except
teachers that find in it a great example of men's primitiveness).
Reading the play, you feel like many things are predestined. Macbeth feels
it himself, but he is
drawn into the evil. Finally, he gives up, and doesn't even try to keep
Macbeth is the absolute main character in the play, and is both easier and
much harder to
analyze; there is more said about him. This...