Play Expert Paper - Macbeth, English homework help

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Question Description

Write and submit a paper of 3,000-4,500 words about the play for which the Annotated Bibliography was completed (Annotated Bibliogrphy not available due to very low score from miscommunication). The paper will be a critical study of a theme, character, or development of the play, and will include a discussion of the play's textual background and source material.

Textual Background: Using Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition and other sources (if necessary), summarize in your own words where we got the modern text of the play you are writing about. Pay special attention to any differences between different original versions from which we get our modern text. Be sure to cite whatever sources you summarize.

Sources: Shakespeare got parts of most of his plays from other people's writings. What are the main outside sources he used to write this play? (Start from the information in the Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition, and examine the sources yourself, if you can). Summarize the information about where the play came from, unless you have a chance to examine some of the sources in detail. If you examine a source in detail, talk about your own conclusions.

Analysis: Develop an argument you will present about a particular interpretation of the play by analyzing a theme, a character, a plot development, etc. Make certain that your analysis is focused on one aspect of the play, craft an argument that you will then prove with your writing by drawing on primary and secondary texts, and avoid unnecessary summary.

Works Cited: Works cited should be annotated, but should not be included in the final word count. The final works cited should include at least 10 secondary sources that deal with aspects of the play.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the MLA Style Guide,

Tutor Answer

School: UCLA


The Tragedy of Macbeth
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Macbeth can be attributed to be one of Shakespeare greatest masterpiece. Macbeth
doesn’t contain some of the high levels of complexity contained Shakespeare’s other works but
can be perceived to be his most powerful as well as most emotionally piece of work. In the other
tragedies written by Shakespeare, including Hamlet and Othello, Shakespeare focuses on the
various quandaries faced by the main characters, this tragedy is quite different. In Macbeth, there
are tumbles of Macbeth that occur from its beginning to the end. Macbeth is a jagged sketch in
regards to its characters as well as themes that make it exceptional compared to other pieces of
Shakespeare’s works. The Macbeth tragedy seeks to dramatize the adverse effects; both physical
as well as psychological, political ambitions can infringe to the various individuals who seek
power for their personal gains (Wells, & drazia, 205). In this tragedy, Shakespeare seeks to relate
the playwright’s relationship towards his sovereign. The play is believed to have being written
back in 1606, although the exact date of its performance remains unclear as various theories are
implemented to try and understand its exact date of first performance.

However, the first date Macbeth was published dates back to 1623 when it was published
in Folio after being retrieved from a prompt book. At the same time, Macbeth remains the
shortest tragedy story written in Shakespeare’s time. Macbeth is the story of a Scottish general
who is known as Macbeth who returns from war after bravely beating his enemies. Macbeth on
his way back meets a trio of witches and receives a prophecy that leaves him silent with shock.
In the prophecy, the trio witches prophecy that Macbeth would one day become the King of
Scotland. After one of the prophecy become true Macbeth becomes obsessed with power and
ambition to fulfill the prophecy and become the ultimate ruler of Scotland. After sharing these
news with his wife Lady Macbeth, is she pressures him to action; to kill the King Duncan to take
over his place in the throne. Macbeth finally manages to accomplish his mission, kills King
Duncan and ascends the throne. Macbeth is filled with paranoia as he perceives everyone as a
threat to his throne and as a result ends up killing more and more people and he becomes filled
with guilty turning him into a tyrannical king. The series of bloodbaths that were followed by
civil war drive Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into realm of crazy as well as death. Some people
often feel that this play by Shakespeare was cursed and as a result wouldn’t refer to it by name
and rather referred to it as “The Scottish Play.”
Textual Background
The first official record of the Macbeth play by Shakespeare was initially recorded in the
Books of Plays on the section known as “Common Policy”. The Books of Plays was initially
known as “The Bocke of Plaise and Notes thereof p formans for common Pollicie,” that is
primarily a manuscript written by Simon Forman that recorded the four plays he had taken part
in between 1610-11. In the manuscript about these four plays, Simon Forman also talked about
the morals he had deduced from attending the performance of these plays. Regarding the

Macbeth play, Simon reported to have attended the play on the 20th of April 1611 that he records
was on a Saturday. The play was first published in 1623 under the name “The Tragedie of
Macbeth.” The first performance of the Macbeth play was on the 20th April 1611 as per the
record given by Simon Forman on the Globe (Normand, 202). However, these dates given by
Forman have received a lot of criticism based on their ways of discovery as well as the
inaccuracy of some of the information contained in Forman’s records. For example, Forman in
his journal entry provides that he initially watched the play on the 20th April 1611 on a Saturday;
however, this information is incorrect as that particular date was on a Tuesday.
However, regardless of the many criticisms that faced this manuscript, it was proven legit
by J. Dover Wilson on the year 1947. Other issues that have being criticized regarding the play
include the fact that Forman had failed to include crucial information about the play such as its
conclusion and this makes its legitimacy doubtful since Forman was making notes on a play and
also identifying the morals he learnt from the play, and this would make it impossible to forget
including the conclusion about the play.
Revision (Additional Information)
Many scholars have theorized that the Folio texts of the Macbeth play currently reveal
some signs that it underwent some revisions. These revisions make it almost impossible to pin
down the exact date the play was written. The primary evidence that the play might have being
revised includes the primary nature of the play in regards to the fact that it is too short compared
to other tragedies by Shakespeare (McGinn 67). The F1 has also being hypothesized that it might
have being obtained from a prompt book that had apparently shortened it for its stage
performance. The play is currently recorded in “The play is listed in the Oxford Shakespeare:

Complete Works as "The Tragedy of Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, Adapted by Thomas
The play has a clear connection to King James and this provides that the play was written
after the accession of King James but rather after his coming to power. King James is regarded
Banquo his direct ancestor and this can be affirmed that there had being eight Stuart kings who
had sat on the throne before King James as depicted by Banquo in the "a show of eight kings"
( The date of the play that has received the majority vote of confidence from most
scholars is the date 1606 proposed by Edmond Malone and backed up by most scholars.
However, it still remains unclear as to the exact date the play was written as scholars still fails to
agree on a single date based on the available evidence.
Shakespeare got the content for most of his plays from the written works of other people
at the time. Although he doesn’t directly reference these other works, there exists similarities
between his plays and these other writings that clearly shows that he borrowed some of their
writings for his plays. His play Macbeth is one of those plays whose content was borrowed from
other’s people’s works as well as from other phenomenal features that took place at the place.
There are some sections of the Macbeth play that confirm that he borrowed his content from
various lives’s aspects and people’s works as well as demonstrated below. A primary source of
the play originated from the Demonologies of King James that was in print in the year 1597 and
was incorporated by a news pamphlet entitled Newes from Scotland that comprehensively
explained the renowned North Berwick witch trials. The publication was done prior to the

tragedy of Macbeth which incorporated the themes and setting that were in contrast with King
James personal encounters with witch craft (Wells, & drazia, 87). The trial of the witches had
taken place in Scotland and it is reported that the witches had performed rituals just like the other
three witches. Among the evidences that were brought to the trial was the confession by the
witches that they attempted to incapacitate the boat King James and the queen were using while
on a return journey from Denmark. The evidence was noteworthy a ship in King James fleet sank
as result of a storm in the waters. This was confirmed by the quote by Macbeth “purposely to be
cassin into the sea the sea to raise winds for destruction of ships.”
There has been a comparison of Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare and
in both characters hunt for a new world at the cost of the previous one. There is a competition for
a throne and to get a ‘nemesis’ in order to fight for the throne. In Anthony’s case the nemesis is
Octavius and in Macbeth’s case it’s Banquo. In the publication Macbeth sometimes compared
himself to Antony and states "under Banquo / My Genius is rebuk'd, as it is said / Mark Antony's
was by Caesar." Finally in both the plays, there are influential and controlling figures namely:
Macbeth and Cleopatra. Many tales from Shakespeare’s story was borrowed from a trendy
history of the British island known as the Holinshed’s Chronicles.
According to the Chronicles a man called Donwald finds that many of his family
members have been executed by King Duff for participating in witchcraft. Due to mounting
pressure by his wife, Donwald together with his four servants murder the king in his own
residence. Macbeth is depicted in the Chronicles to be under pressure to support the kingdom
even after King Duncan’s incompetence (Bullough, 45). The meeting between Banquo, Macbeth
and the three witches resulted into prophesy similar to the one in Shakespeare’s edition. As a
result of Lady Macbeth’s pressure, Macbeth and Banquo planned to kill Duncan. Macbeth

reigned for ten years until he was overpowered by Macduff and Malcolm. The contrast between
the two stories is clear although some researchers argue that ‘Rerum Scoticarum Historia’ by
George Buchanan is much similar to the version by Shakespeare.
During Shakespeare’s time the story by Buchanan was available in Latin. There is no
part in the story where Macbeth has murdered the king in his own residence. Shakespeare’s draft
has been viewed by many scholars to have accumulated obscurity on Macbeth’s offence as the
most evil infringement of hospitality. At the time, there were conflicting theories that King
Duncan had be murdered in a surprise attack at Inverness and not at his residence. The story by
Shakespeare was a compilation of Donwald and King Duff’s story and this distorted the entire
story. During the murder of King Duncan by Macbeth, Banquo became an accessory to it and he
made sure that Malcolm does not inherit the throne during the coup. Banquo was believed to be a
progeny of Stuart King James but in the 19th century it was confirmed that Banquo was an
ancestor of family that emigrated from Scotland after Macbeth’s era.
Banquo’s creation by Shakespeare is much different from what earlier resources
portrayed. There have been many theories for this change; first it is believed that implying that
the ancestor to the king was perilous move therefore changing the story was a nice move. In
Stuartide by Jean de Schelandre, Banquo is depicted as a dignified person and not a killer. The
reasons for doing so are similar to that of Shakespeare. On a second note, Shakespeare could
have distorted Banquo’s character since there was no need for an accessory to the murder
although there was need to provide a theatrical contrast to Macbeth a role played well by Banquo
(Levin, 20). The tragedy can be related to the Gunpowder Plot that was written back in of 1605
by Harold Bloom since many references like the death sentence of Rev. Henry Garnett for
involvement in the plot was similar to the story like in Macbeth.

After James was installed the king of England, a sensation of uncertainty reigned over the
nation. This is because he was a Scottish king, born by the Queen of Scots and was steadfast
follower of catholic doctrines. Additionally, he had been labeled an English traitor. According to
Jonathan Gill Harris, the play Macbeth depicted a post- Elizabeth England which would end up
being ruled by Scottish king. The play is seen as a message to King James. He further eludes that
the play is a duplicate of the gunpowder play because it incorporated magical scenes, attempted
murders while in prison, and vocabulary that are alike to the plot. In the play the spectators find a
few primary words that shade the light about the Plot. The words fair and foul has been used by

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