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Macbeth | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Macbeth | Glossary


Birnam Wood: A Scottish forest near the town of Perth in eastern Scotland, about 12 miles from Dunsinane.

Cawdor: A village and castle in northern Scotland, near Inverness.

Colmekill: An island off the western coast of Scotland, better known as Iona.

Dunsinane: The highest point in the Sidlaw Hills, located near Perth in eastern Scotland. Ruins of an ancient fort can be found at the peak.

Earl: A ranking under the feudal system, lower than a marquis but higher than a viscount. In Anglo-Saxon times, an earl was assigned large divisions of the country to protect for the king.

Feudal: The medieval hierarchy of government, with the king at the top and various other governing ranks of nobility below him.

Fife: A town and country area on a peninsula in eastern Scotland, not far from Forres and Glamis.

Forres: A small town in northeastern Scotland. One of the country's oldest settlements, it is 27 miles northeast of Inverness.

Glamis: A castle and village in eastern Scotland.

Lord: A landowner under the feudal system who held some command over others but was also accountable to other nobility, including the king.

Scone: A Scottish village near the town of Perth and home of the Stone of Scone, the traditional seat of coronation for all Scottish kings. The stone was moved to Westminster Abbey in London in 1296, where it rested under the Coronation Chair. Today it resides at Edinburgh Castle. When James I assumed the throne in 1603, his crowning was said to have fulfilled a prophecy once attached to the stone, which declared that the Scots would someday rule.

Thane: A title under the feudal system, similar to a lord. Thanes could be born to their title or earn the title. A "king's thane" was part of a subclass of thanes who answered directly to the king, as seems to be the case with the thanes in Macbeth.

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