The Power of Lady Macbeth

Background of Macbeth

The play Macbeth is loosely based upon a book known as 'Holinshed's Chronicles'. This book was informative to Shakespeare about how 11th century Scotland was governed. In that period Scotland was a violent country and were clans fought to control territory and trade and which the castle was the powerbase for ever rival war lord.
Shakespeare's play was written between 1603 and 1606 during the Jacobean era. This was during the reign of James 1st of England. In that time the people had a belief of a hierarchial chain known as the 'Great Chain of Being'. It created social stability as it was thought that everything had its position fixed by God. If someone in the chain didn't fulfil their responsibility they were considered 'breaking the chain' which would upset the established order and bring about universal disorder. Moreover 17th century society reflected this order as the king was placed at the top of the chain of being as it was believed that they were divinely chosen by God. In relation to this there were also beliefs in witches and witchcraft and that any associations with the supernatural would have disrupted the natural order and thus would be placed outside the chain and be considered evil. This belief was taken seriously with many potential witches being executed.
In reference to to witchcraft King James 1 wrote and published his book 'Demonology' in 1597. There were distinct societal expectations in the patriartrichal Jacobean era about the roles of men and women. The belief in divine order meant that women were inherently inferior to men and took on the roles of mothers and caregivers. They also had to obey their husbands and fathers every decision as they were ruled by them. Women were also supposed to be pious and pure and completely against violence of any sort. As for men they were the soldier and decision makers for his family, home and life. They were seen as religious and loyal to the monarchy but were prone to violence...