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While this is William Shakespeare’s most powerful and emotionally gripping play, it is also his bloodiest and shortest tragedy. The play tells the tale of Macbeth, a Scottish general who receives a prophecy from three witches that he will become King of Scotland. The fateful prophecy ultimately leads to patricide and its aftermath. The play was written between 1603 and 1607, probably in 1606—early during the reign of King James I. The king was a patron of Shakespeare’s acting company and Macbeth reflected Shakespeare’s close relationship with him. While the play paid homage to the king’s Scottish lineage, Macbeth bears no relation to real events in Scottish history as Macbeth, or The Red King (1040-1057) was an admired and just monarch. The earliest account of the play’s performance is in April of 1611.
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