Title: Macbeth Literary Guide

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Play

Publication Date: 1606


One of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, Macbeth is a classic tale of the temptation of evil and the corrupting power of unchecked ambition. Though there is no clear mention of when the play was written, it was first performed at the Globe Theater in 1606. One of his later tragedies, the play was later published in the First Folio in 1623.

Often referred to as the “Bard of Avon,” Shakespeare enjoyed both popular appreciation as well as royal patronage. One of England’s preeminent playwrights, his brilliant career spanned the reigns of two monarchs—Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 without any heirs, James I, a Scot, took over the throne of England. King James continued to promote Shakespeare’s writing and the performance of his plays. Macbeth distinctly alludes to the king’s Scottish lineage, as the play is entirely set in Scotland. It is also based on Scottish history and legend, and most characters are Scottish as well. The characters of Macbeth and Banquo are also based on historical figures. Over the years, scholars, critics, and audiences have admired the play’s depiction of excessively ambitious rulers and the temptation of power.

One of Shakespeare’s shortest plays, Macbeth, however, is an intense exploration of emotions. Lord and Lady Macbeth are two of the most engaging villains in both literature and stage history. The themes discussed in the play have transcended time and culture, and they continue to be relevant even now.

Macbeth Biography

Macbeth Background

Macbeth Characters

Macbeth Summary and Analysis

Macbeth Themes

Macbeth Quotes

Macbeth Discussion Questions

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