The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (2013-2014)

Points to consider before watching:

  • Shakespeare had personal connections to the Gunpowder Plot.
    • The head conspirator was Robert Catesby, whose father was good friends with Shakespeare’s father. They shared illegal Catholic writings, which were found in the attic of Shakespeare’s father.
    • The Mermaid Tavern in London, where Shakespeare often visited, was the preferred meeting place of the conspirators.
  • In his next play, Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates his loyalty to King James and distances himself from the conspiracy.
    • It is his only play set in Scotland, the homeland of King James.
    • King Duncan is portrayed as a good king, while Macbeth is portrayed as a murderous and ambitious traitor.
    • King James was believed to be a descendant of Banquo and Fleance, who appear in the play.

Interesting trivia:

  • The British still celebrate Guy Fawkes Day (or Bonfire Night), in memory of the most notorious conspirator.
  • The well-known phrase, “Remember, remember the 5th of November” is a reference to a song about the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
  • A Guy Fawkes mask:

Guy Fawkes Mask