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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsWelcome to Week 6 of Shakespeare and His World. This week is called Witches and Doctors. We're going to go to two extremes of human experience and see how they come together in a single play. The play of which sometimes you're not supposed to say the title. But let's dare to say it, Macbeth, the Scottish play, a play that begins with the weird sisters, the witches. What did the supernatural witches' magical forces mean to Shakespeare and his audience? What happens in the course of a play in which an ambitious man makes a kind of contract with the devil in order to kill a king? Is the supernatural somehow bound up with dreams and with madness?

Skip to 1 minute and 2 secondsThe idea of madness is something else we're going to explore. And we're going to meet the figure of the doctor, of the fictional doctor of Macbeth, who we will see treating the madness of Lady Macbeth. But also some real doctors, including Shakespeare's son-in-law, Dr. John Hall, a very significant figure in his life. Shakespeare's daughter Susanna married John Hall early in the reign of King James. And the other thing we're going to discover about Macbeth is that it was a play very close to the interests of James, who came to the throne of England in 1603 having previously, of course, been King of Scotland.

Skip to 1 minute and 47 secondsJames was fascinated by the supernatural, by witches, so there are rich historical contexts for exploring this great tragedy.

Welcome to Week 6

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Shakespeare and his World

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