For a king of Scotland upon whom large amounts of material have been written, from chronicles to poetry and drama, we know very little about the historical figure who reigned in his native country from 1040-1057. What we do know, however, must be regarded with caution and only as deriving from the most reliable traditions that we have access to. Facts are surely discernible within them, but legends are traceable, even to almost the very earliest documents. By the time we reach the work of Shakespeare, Macbeth’s most famous “biographer”, fiction has become powerfully predominant.

As far as we can tell, the man we now call Macbeth was the son of “Findlaech” (d. 1020), who was the “mormaer” of Moray and Ross, and Douda, third daughter of Malcolm II (r. 1005-1034). “Mormaer”

4679 words

Citation: Farrow, Kenneth D. . "Macbeth". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 December 2005 [, accessed 25 July 2024.]

12223 Macbeth 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.