The Tragedy of Macbeth
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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616), dramatist, man of the theatre and poet, was baptized in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. He was the eldest son of John Shakespeare, a glover and dealer in other commodities who played a prominent part in local affairs, becoming bailiff and justice of the peace in 1568, but whose fortunes later declined. John had married Mary Arden, who came from a family of higher social standing. Of their eight children, four sons and one daughter survived childhood. In 1587 an actor of the Queen´:s Men died through manslaughter shortly before the company visited Stratford. That Shakespeare may have filled the vacancy is an intriguing speculation. He was a leading member of the Lord Chamberlain´:s Men soon after their refoundation in 1594. With them he worked and grew prosperous for the rest of his career as they developed into London´:s leading company, occupying the Globe Theatre from 1599. Over 200 years after Shakespeare died, doubts were raised about the authenticity of his works. His play scripts have formed the basis for the English theatrical tradition, and they continue to find realization in reader’:s ´:imagination and, in richly varied transmutations, on the world´:s stages. “:Macbeth”:(1623). Macbeth and Banquo, generals of Duncan, king of Scotland, returning from a victorious campaign against rebels, encounter three weird sisters, or witches, upon a heath, who prophesy that Macbeth shall be than of Cawdor, and king hereafter, and Banquo shall beget kings though he be none. Immediately afterwards comes the news that the king has created Macbeth thane of Cawdor. Stimulated by the prophecy, and spurred on by Lady Macbeth, Macbeth murders Duncan, who is on a visit to his castle. Duncan´:s sons escape.