Macbeth (1971)




Director:     Roman Polanski

Starring:     Jon Finch (Macbeth),  Francesca Annis (Lady Macbeth),  Martin Shaw (Banquo),  Terence Bayler (Macduff),  (Nicholas Selby (Duncan),  John Stride (Ross),  Stephan Chase (Malcolm), Paul Shelley (Donalbain).

Country:     British.

The better of the films on MacBeth, the Scottish nobleman who goes too far, egged on by his power hungry wife.  



Spoiler Warning:







Historical Background:



0848-1034  --  House of Alpin.  Starts with Kenneth I. 

0848-0858  --  reign of Kenneth I. 

1005-1034  --  reign of Malcolm II.   Last king of the House of Alpin; he crushed all opposition and, without sons, passes the crown to his daughter's son, Duncan I, who inaugurates the House of Dunkeld.

1020            --  death of Macbeth's father Findláech mac Ruaidrí, Mormaer of Moray. His mother was Donada supposedly.  She was a daughter of Scottish king Malcolm II .  He was killed by his own sons or his nephews. 

1031            --  the Viking King Cnut the Great came north in this year to accept the submission of King Malcolm II.  Macbeth also submitted to him.

                         Gille Coemgáin married a woman named Gruoch.  The couple had a son, the future king Lulach.  After Gille Coemgáin's death, Macbeth married his widow and took Lulach as his stepson.


1034-1286  --  House of Dunkeld; a continuation of the House of Alpin

1034-1040  --  reign of Duncan I.  He was killed in battle with Macbeth.

1040-1057  --  reign of Macbeth.  " . . . no near contemporary source remarks on Macbeth as a tyrant."  Shakespeare's Macbeth is drawn from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland  (published in 1577).

1045            --  Duncan's father Crínán of Dunkeld was killed in a battle between two Scottish armies.  After his death, Macbeth was unchallenged.

1050            --  Macbeth takes a pilgrimage to Rome. 

1054            --  Edward's Earl of Northumbria, Siward, led a very large invasion of Scotland.  The invasion led to the false belief of Shakespeare that Macbeth was put in power by the English.  (The English restored Máel Coluim to his throne, as ruler of the kingdom of Strathclyde.)

1057-1058  --   in a series of battles Duncan's son Malcolm III defeated and killed Macbeth and Macbeth's stepson and heir Lulach, and claimed the throne.  Macbeth died on the north side of the Mounth in 1057, after retreating with his men over the Cairnamounth Pass to take his last stand at the battle at Lumphanan.  (Lumphanan is located 25 miles from Aberdeen and 10 miles from Banchory.)

1058-1093  --  reign of Malcolm III (son of Duncan I). 

1093-1097   --  Malcolm III dies in battle. His brother Donald Ban claims the throne and expells Malcolm's sons from Scotland.  The result is a family civil war.  Donald Ban and Malcolm's son Edmund fight against Malcolm's English-backed sons, led first by Duncan II and then by Edgar.

1093-1097  --  reign of Donald III. 

1094           --  reign of Duncan II, a son of Malcolm III. 

1097-1107  --  reign of Edgar, a son of Malcolm III.  Edgar wins and sends his uncle and brother to monasteries.


1124-1153  --  the reign of David I, a son of Malcolm III.  After his reign the Scottish throne passes according to rules of primogeniture from father to son, or where not possible, brother to brother.


1249-1286  --  reign of Alexander III.  He dies in an accident while riding home.  The King's two sons are already dead.  End of the House of Dunkeld.

1274           --  birth of the Robert the Bruce, probably in Turnberry Castle in Ayrshire


1286-1290  --  House of Fairhair, disputed.

1290           --  for two months Margaret, the Maid of Norway, reigns.  She was the daughter of Alexander III.  She died shortly after landing on the Orkney Islands.


1290-1292  --  First Interregnum.

1291           --  fearing civil war between the Bruce and Balliol families and their supporters, the Guardians of Scotland write to Edward I of England, asking him to come north and arbitrate between the claimants to the Scottish throne.   Before the arbitration started, Edward demanded that he be recognized as Lord Paramount of Scotland.  Edward meets the guardians at Norham in 1291.

1292          --  Balliol was named king by a majority on 17 November 1292 in a meeting of the arbiters.  Edward I soon made it clear that he saw Scotland as a vassal state.  He demands that Scotland provide troops to England for the invasion of France. 

1292          --  the mother of Robert dies, elevating the 18-year-old to the Earldom of Carrick.  Both Robert and his father sides with Edward I against John Balliol, whom they considered a usurper.


1292–1296  --  House of Balliol.

1292-1296  --  reign of John de Balliol.  William Wallace wins at the Battle of Stirling Bridge where he set upon the English forces.  Shortly after the battle, Robert the Bruce again defects to the Scots; he lays waste to Annandale and burns the English-held castle of Ayr.

Later at Falkirk, Wallace's people suffer a defeat from English arrows.  Wallace resigns as Guardian of Scotland after the battle of Falkirk.  He was succeeded by Robert Bruce and John Comyn as joint Guardians. 

1294          --   the Bruce gets permission from Edward I  to visit Ireland for a year and a half.

1295            --  Robert the Bruce marries his first wife, Isabella of Mar.


1296–1306 --  Second Interregnum.

late 13th and early 14th centuries  --the Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between Scotland and England. 

1296-1327  --  the First War begins with the English invasion of Scotland.  William Wallace wins at the Battle of Stirling Bridge where he set upon English forces. But later at Falkirk Wallace's people fall like apples in an orchard from the English arrows.

1296            --  Bruce and his father swear their loyalty to Edward I of England at Berwick-upon-Tweed.

1297            --  in violation of his oath, Robert the Bruce supports the Scottish revolt against King Edward.

1300            --  Robert the Bruce resigns as Guardian of Scotland.  (He and Guardian John Comyn were basically enemies.  Comyn was the nephew of Balliol and the most powerful noble in Scotland.)

1301           --  King Edward I launches his sixth campaign into Scotland.

1302           --  Robert the Bruce submits to Edward I.  Bruce marries his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh.  Together they have four children. 

1303           --  Edward I invades Scotland again and subdues the country. 

1304           --  all the leading Scots, except for William Wallace, surrender to Edward I.

1305          --   as prisoner of the English, Wallace was executed publicly by being disemboweled while alive. 

1306            --  Bruce severely wounds or kills Comyn in a Dumfries church in a dispute that turned violent.  One story says Bruce's men finished off Comyn in the church.  Bruce is excommunicated.  The Bruce begins his war with England.  He and his party attack Dumfries Castle. The English garrison surrenders.  Bruce also states his claim to the Scottish crown. 


1306–1371  --  House of Bruce.

1306-1328  --  reign of Robert I , the Bruce. 

1306            --  Bruce is defeated at the Battle of Methven and a little later he was surprised in Strathfillan.  He and his party had to flee.

1307           --  Edward I marches north against the Bruce. Bruce's wife, daughter and sisters are captured and serve a harsh term of some four years.  Bruce's brother Neil is executed.

                        In July, King Edward I dies.  Now Bruce will have to fight his son, Edward II.

                        Bruce returns from exile and starts a guerrilla war in southwest Scotland.  His brothers Thomas and Alexander are captured and executed.

                        Bruce wins two small  victories at the Battle of Glen Trool and the Battle of Loudoun Hill.

                        Late in the year, he sets up operations in Aberdeenshire.  He threatens Banff but becomes seriously ill

1308          --   Bruce wins the Battle of Inverurie in May.  He then destroys the power of Clan Comyn.

1309          --  Bruce holds his first Parliament at St. Andrews.  He controls all of Scotland north of the River Tay (which is north of Edinburgh on the east coast).

1310          --  takes Linlithgow.

1311           --  takes Dumbarton.

1312           --  takes Perth (slightly west of Dundee). 

1313           --  raids in northern England.

1314           --  attacks in northern England.  James Douglas captures Roxburgh; Randolph captures Edinburgh Castle. In May, Bruce again raids England and subdues the Isle of Man.

1314           --  Bruce secures Scottish independence from England, at least militarily, if not diplomatically, at the Battle of Bannockburn

1315-1318   --  Irish Bruce Wars.  Bruce wants to form a pan-Gaelic alliance between Scottish-Irish Gaelic populations of Scotland and Ireland.

1316            --  the Irish crown Edward Bruce as High King of Ireland.

1318           --  Edward Bruce is killed at the Battle of Faughart.  Dream of a pan-Gaelic alliance withers.  The Irish are glad to be rid of the Scots because of their pillaging and other acts.

1320            --  the Declaration of Arbroath strengthens the Bruce's position, particularly vis-à-vis the Papacy Pope John XXII eventually lifts Bruce's excommunication.

1328            --  the First War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton.

1329            --  Robert the Bruce dies of an unknown ailment. 

1329-1371  --  reign of David II.  Son of Robert I. 

1332-1357 --  the Second War begins with the English-supported invasion of Edward Baliol and the "Disinherited".

1357          --  Second War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Berwick.


1371- 1567  --  House of Stewart/Stuart

1371-1390  --  Robert II, the Steward.





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