James I Influence In Shakespeare's Writing

2035 words - 9 pages

After the Christian conquest across Europe during the medieval period other beliefs were restricted. This period was very authoritarian but later the Renaissance unlocked opportunities to the imagination and the idea of supernatural started to bloom. Although, the supernatural is sometime mistaken with the gods of certain religions, believing in ghosts and witches was independent from the people chosen religion. The question of the existence of the supernatural, or something bigger than us, in 16th century Europe focused mainly on God from the Christian perspective. During this time other supernatural characters were brought to light, affecting the politics of the monarchies as it did during the rule of King James I in England. Shakespeare's use of the supernatural demonstrates his support for King James I and his beliefs in the extraordinary.
Through out history religion has been tied to politics since the beginning of history; what the ruler belief was the set religion for the state. However, England has always been more liberal than the rest of Europe as a result of their distance from mainland. This fact left them the opportunity to explore different ideals but by the Renaissance most England was already Catholic.
James from the Stuart House was the son of Henry VII and Mary Queen of Scots, who was executed by Elizabeth I because Mary supported the Catholics, England's enemies. After Queen Mary's death King James was raised as a Protestant and when he became old enough he was of age James VI, King of Scotland. Queen Elizabeth did not have any natural descendants, and James VI became James I of England after she died. The population hoped James would support the Catholics like his mother did, but this did not happen for his Protestant's beliefs. As a result, conspiracies developed to overthrow him.
During Early Modern England, plays were written for the parliament and the Royal Family. James I built a theater called Banqueting House were "drama in particular flourished at this court" (History of the Monarchy 4), where Macbeth was performed in 1606. In Queen Elizabeth I reign, Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream highlighting the "happy, confident and optimistic mood of Elizabethans" (BBC-Higher Bitesize English -Background: Revision 1). The tragedy of Macbeth, “darker and more cynical” (BBC-Higher Bitesize English -Background: Revision 1), written during the Jacobean period, reflected the insecurities of the time for the many prosecutions made by James. The idea of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's conspiracy is said to be inspired from the Gunpowder Plot when "Guy Fawkes and his men tried to blow up James and his parliament in 1605" (BBC-Higher Bitesize English -Background: Revision 2). This plot resulted in strict penalties on Roman Catholics and therefore created a feeling of terror among the population. It is also said that Shakespeare included Banquo in Macbeth in honor of the Stuarts:
Banquo is of a political nature. It was believed at...

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