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Where and when is the play Macbeth set, and were the characters real people?

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nenasart | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 23, 2008 at 8:11 AM via web

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Where and when is the play Macbeth set, and were the characters real people?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 23, 2008 at 8:38 AM (Answer #1)

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Although written in 1606, this play takes place in the Scotland of medieval times, probably around the 11th century.  There is also one scene that takes place in England.  Much of the action takes place at Macbeth's castle in Inverness, an area in the Scottish Highlands (north Scotland).

The character of Macbeth is based on a real historical figure that Shakespeare read about in the Holinshed Chronicles.  The outline of the story is based upon this real king - according to the Chronicles, a king by the name of Duncan was killed by the king Macbeth.

 

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 23, 2008 at 8:38 AM (Answer #2)

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The play is set in Scotland during the mid 11th century. Most of the characters really lived. Duncan was king of Scotland from 1034 to 1040, and Macbeth ruled 1040-1057.

Malcolm, Donalbain, and Macduff were real people also. Macduff did kill Macbeth in battle, but there is no recorded evidence that Macbeth murdered Macduff's family.

The real Lady Macbeth's first name was Gruoch. Maybe that's why she was so grouchy!

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