What clothes did Macbeth of Macbeth by Shakespeare wear back then?I have to modernise scenes from Macbeth and I've got him wearing a Dolce and Gabbana business suit in the modern version but I...

What clothes did Macbeth of Macbeth by Shakespeare wear back then?

I have to modernise scenes from Macbeth and I've got him wearing a Dolce and Gabbana business suit in the modern version but I don't know what he wore back then.

Asked on by kim-c

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the author presents us with an authentic warrior who is actually from another country other than England - he is from Scotland. Being Scottish, he would have probably been kitted out for battle in the early scenes, similarly to his men. Being of higher rank than them, he would have had other clothes as well, for banqueting and attending entertainments in various castles and defended houses. For battle, around the 16th C, the Scots clansmen wore loose flowing shirts, leather belts and straps for their weapons and a long woollen half-length tunic from waist to knee. These are called 'kilts' and can be seen in ceremonial dress today. For evenings, richer people might have been influenced by the French Catholic court.

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Since the setting of Shakespeare's Macbeth is in medieval times, Macbeth probably wore linen or wool tunics that went to the knees.  Since he was from Scotland and a colder climate, he probably wore trousers of wool in the cold weather, but tights were more the norm.  However, these tights were not tightly woven since knitting had not yet been invented.  Outside, men wore wool cloaks and/or furs. Since Macbeth is such a brutal and strong warrior, he seems like one who would wear animal furs. On their feet, men wore leather shoes that had squared toes.  Later, the toes were pointed and even turned up. 

In the play, there is a mention of robes, so the king and nobles probably had long robes that they donned indoors, especially in the cold winters.  The castles were especially drafty, anyway.

Are you sure that you want Macbeth to appear so sophisticated?  He is not described this way in the first act.  Rather, he seems like the ruthless military man, conservative in his dress.

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