Annotated Bibliography For Macbeth

MACBETH opens after the victory of Macbeth and Banquo, two Scottish generals, over rebels against the crown. Three witches appear and greet Banquo as the ancestor of kings and Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and “king hereafter.”

Emboldened by these prophecies and urged on by his wife, Macbeth murders Duncan, his king and kinsman, while Duncan is a guest in his home. After Macbeth is proclaimed king, he decides to forestall the prophecy of the witches by murdering Banquo’s family. Haunted by Banquo’s ghost, Macbeth awakens the suspicions of Macduff, who flees the country.

Warned by the witches to beware of Macduff, Macbeth proceeds to murder Macduff’s family. He feels secure since the witches promise him that he will not be vanquished by anyone of woman born, nor will he be defeated until “Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill” has come.

Lady Macbeth becomes insane and commits suicide. The enemy troops cut down Birnam trees to use as camouflage. Revealing that he was delivered in a Caesarian operation and so not of woman born, Macduff confronts the usurper Macbeth in combat. Macduff wins the battle and brandishes Macbeth’s head on a sword. Duncan’s son Malcolm is proclaimed king.

Shakespeare’s dramatic mastery is fully mature in MACBETH. Even though Macbeth trespasses against the standards of human decency, he successfully claims our interest and understanding, his despair evokes our sympathy.


Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy. London: Macmillan, 1905. A classic study. Chapters on Macbeth deal with fundamental issues of evil, flawed nobility of character, and tragic choice; Bradley’s eloquent prose helps the reader appreciate the grandeur of the subject.

Harbage, Alfred. William Shakespeare: A Reader’s Guide. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1963. An excellent introduction to Shakespeare’s plays, accessible to the general reader while providing masterful analyses of selected plays. Discussion of Macbeth gives a scene-by-scene synopsis, illuminated by wide-ranging, sensitive, analytical commentary.

Holland, Norman. The Shakespearean Imagination. New York: Macmillan, 1964. Informative, readable discussions of Shakespeare’s major plays based on a series of educational television lectures. Introductory chapters provide a good background to the beliefs and values of Shakespeare’s times. The chapter on Macbeth discusses elements of the play such as theme, characterization, atmosphere, and imagery.

Long, Michael. Macbeth. Boston: Twayne, 1989. An excellent introduction to the play as well as original critical commentary. Includes chapters on stage history, literary counterparts and antecedents, and dramatic symbols, as well as scene-by-scene analysis. Long characterizes Macbeth’s tragedy as both Christian and classical, a story of radical isolation from humanity.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Edited by Alan Sinfield. Houndsmills, England: Macmillan, 1992. Contains a dozen articles on Macbeth that together provide a good idea of the intellectual issues, political concerns, and style of postmodernist criticism not only of this play but also of literature in general. Includes a useful introduction and summative chapter endnotes, plus an annotated bibliography.

Wills, Garry. Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. This study of Macbeth reconstructs the political and historical context of Shakespeare’s dark and troubling play, suggesting the links that its first audiences would have perceived between the Gunpowder Plot and this imaginative text.

Annotated Bibliography on Macbeth

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Curtis Turner Mr. Doyle Eng 4th January 19 2010 Annotated bibliography Wells, Catherine. www. sff. net. Special Libraries Association. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association. (2007). 19 January 2010. Macbeths father was Findlaech, the Mormaer of Moray, and his grandfather was Ruadhri. In 1020, Findlaech was challenged for rule of Moray by his two nephews, Malcolm and Gillecomgain, and killed. Malcolm then became ruler in Findlaech’s place. Macbeth would have been 15 at the time, and quite possibly in fosterage somewhere outside of Inverness, the capital of Moray.

It was the common practice of nobles to have their sons fostered from age 7 to age 17, the “age of choice. ” Macbeth returned to his home upon turning 17, there to gain practical experience both in the art of war and the management of his family’s assets: cattle, sheep, and grain. Whatever the circumstances, Duncan went up against Macbeth and lost. Duncan was buried with previous kings on the sacred Isle of Iona. Macbeth was now the biggest dog on the hill, and he rode to the capital city of Scone to claim the high kingship for himself. Ellis, Peter Berresford ehistory. su. edu- MacBeth- Barnes & Noble Books- New York, (1993) 19 January 2010. He was born in 1005 at Alba, Scotland and died on August 15th 1057 at Lumphanan-in-Mar, Scotland. He is considered by historians as the last of the galic kings of Scotland, but has become less of a historical figure and more of a fictional character, ultimately by William Shakespeare. He was born the same year as his grandfather Malcolm the 2nd became king. At the age of seven MacBeth was sent away to be educated The term of study usually lasted about ten years.

In 1020, at age fifteen, his cousins Malcolm and Gillecomgain killed MacBeth’s father. The reason escaped history, but it could have been that Findlaech MacRuaridh had established a warm relationship with the House of Atholl. As for MacBeth, not much is known about him at this time, it is possible he was far away in his studies Bingham, Caroline www. 4scots. us. Clan Donnachaidh Society of Florida. March,30 2007. January 19 2010. On the death of Malcolm II, the House of Alpin failed in the male line.

Malcolm had two daughters, and the only surviving descendant of his cousin and immediate predecessor Kenneth III was a grand-daughter. King Malcolm’s grandsons and King Kenneth’s grand-daughter were the leading characters in the drama with which the history of the new dynasty opened. Malcolm’s elder daughter Bethoc married Crinan “the Thane”, lay abbot of Dunkeld. At this period, when Celtic monasticism was in decline, lay abbots appear to have been as accepted a part of the ecclesiastical structure as they became centuries later on the eve of the Reformation.

Crinan was a great nobleman, as his title implies, and he possessed the added prestige of belonging to the kindred of St. Columba. It was from his abbacy of Dunkeld that the new royal House took its name, for Crinan and Bethoc were the parents of King Duncan I. Malcolm’s younger daughter, whose name may have been Donada, married Finlaech, Mormaer of Moray (Mormaer was a Celtic title which appears to have been the equivalent of Thane or Earl), and they were the parents of Macbeth, who was therefore Duncan’s first cousin.

His name was in fact ‘Maelbeatha’, though it would be somewhat pedantic to revert to it. Macbeth married Kenneth III’s grand-daughter Gruoch, the original of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Gruoch had been previously married to Gillicomgan, Mormaer of Moray, a cousin of Macbeth’s father Finlaech. By her first marriage she had a son named Lulach. The events in which Duncan, Macbeth and Gruoch took part were different in emphasis and timing from the familiar events of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Duncan was quite young, probably about thirty-three, when he succeeded his grandfather.

At the time of his death in 1040 his two sons, Malcolm and Donald Ban (or Donalbain), were small children. Macbeth, who was slightly younger than his cousin the King, had, according to the rule of tanistry, an equally good claim to the throne by right of birth, though Duncan had apparently succeeded as their grandfather’s chosen heir. In 1040 Macbeth asserted his claim by force of arms, slew Duncan in battle and made himself king. There is no knowing whether Gruoch’s influence played any part in these events.

She and Macbeth had no children, but it is likely that as the years passed, she may have become anxious to see her son Lulach accepted as his stepfather’s heir. Duncan’s Queen had been a kinswoman of Siward, the Danish Earl who governed northern England under Edward the Confessor. Upon Duncan’s death his elder son Malcolm was sent for safety to Siward’s Court at York, and subsequently went to the Court of the English king; the younger son Donald Ban was sent to the Western Isles, and then possibly to Ireland.

The ‘separated fortune’ of the brothers, to which Shakespeare referred, was to lead to separate interests and ultimately to their bitter enmity. Meanwhile, Macbeth consolidated his triumph by defeating and slaying Duncan’s father, Crinan, in a battle at Dunkeld in 1045. Bloodshed, if not murder, had made him king, but he ruled successfully for seventeen years. He was an outstanding benefactor of the Church, and his rule was strong enough to permit his making a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050, where it was recorded that he “scattered money among the poor like seed”.

Macbeth appeared to be liberal and secure, but he had an enemy whom the years could only make more dangerous. In 1054 Malcolm, with the assistance of his kinsman Siward, invaded Scotland, defeated Macbeth at Scone and wrested Lothian and Cumbria from him. (The name Cumbria was now given to the whole area which had previously been the kingdom of Strathclyde. ) Three years later Malcolm invaded again and completed his victory when he defeated and slew Macbeth at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire, in 1057. Malcolm still had Lulach to deal with.

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Lulach was called “the Simple”, so possible it is permissible to see the influence of Gruoch behind his coronation at Scone immediately upon the death of his stepfather. But early the following year Malcolm slew him, it was said, “by strategy”. At the end of Shakespeare’s play Malcolm, on his way to his coronation at Scone, refers to Macbeth and his wife with pious horror as ‘this dead butcher and his fiend-like Queen’, but perhaps when Malcolm became King of Scots, his had were no less bloodstained than Macbeth’s

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Annotated Bibliography on Macbeth

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