Why did William Shakespeare write "Macbeth"?


Quick Answer

Many scholars believe that Williams Shakespeare may have written his famous tragedy, "Macbeth," as a celebration of King James I. King James I of England had formerly been King James the VI of Scotland, and ascended to the throne in 1603. He was the first in the line of Stuarts that combined the crowns of both England and Scotland.

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Full Answer

The story of "Macbeth" is one of betrayal and the lust for power. William Shakespeare likely drew from Scottish history for the plot of "Macbeth," specifically pulling from "King Macbeth of Scotland" by Raphael Holinshed and the writings of a well known Scottish philosopher, Hector Boece .

King James I was particularly interested in his Scottish heritage and believed himself to be a descendant of Banquo, a character who was murdered by Macbeth in the play. He was also a supporter of literature and the arts, and was a patron to the King's Men troupe of actors and play-writes. William Shakespeare was reputed to be a member of the King's Men.

The earliest known viewings of "Macbeth" occurred in 1611. Superstitions about the play being cursed have abounded since the its inception. Some actors refuse to mention the name of "Macbeth" aloud.

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