Episode 9: “Something wicked”: Macbeth, King James, and Witchcraft with Korey Leigh Smith and Elyse Sharp
When actors Korey Leigh Smith and Elyse Sharp started their own Shakespeare podcast, “Shakespeare Anyone?”, they wanted to do deep dives into the history, themes, and scholarly analysis of all the plays — without, as Korey says, going into the crippling debt of grad school.
And they did just that — their series on Macbeth alone has ten episodes, with a total of seven hours of Macbeth content. They’re now moving onto Twelfth Night and, from the looks of things, they’ll be devoting the same amount of time there.
Today, Korey and Elyse join us to discuss one of the major aspects of Macbeth they discuss – the history behind King James’s obsession with witchcraft and how it feeds into the play. We’ll be discussing Shakespeare’s historical sources for the play, what the political climate was like in England at the time, how England’s king became so obsessed with witches and the supernatural, and what Shakespeare’s goal might have been in writing a play steeped in treason and sorcery.
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