Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Susan King's Lady Macbeth. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Susan King

Susan Fraser King, born Susan Longhi and sometimes known as Susan King, was born in New York City where she spent her childhood and adolescence. She received a B.A. in art from the University of Maryland, as well as a M.A. in art history. Additionally, she began a Ph.D. in art history and medieval studies, which she did not complete. She published her first novel, The Black Thorne’s Rose, in 1994 as Susan King, and has gone on to publish over twenty additional historical novels and historical romances.
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Historical Context of Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth is based on the lives of the real historical figures of Macbeth (or Mac Bethad mac Findláich) and his wife, Lady Macbeth (or Gruoch). Macbeth was born around 1005, was the son of the mormaer of Moray, and became king in 1040 after defeating the sitting king, Duncan, in battle. He reigned for seventeen years, before he was killed by Malcolm Canmore (also Malcolm III, also Malcolm mac Duncan) in battle. Lady Macbeth was born between 1015 and 1018, and had at least one surviving son with her first husband, Gilcomgan, who she named Lulach.

Other Books Related to Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth’s most obvious literary antecedent is William Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth. Although the novel deals with the historical figures that the play is based on, and is not a reinvention of the play itself, it nonetheless uses quotes from the play as epigraphs, and often references specific famous lines. Lady Macbeth exists in a tradition of fictionalizations of the historical figures of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, including Nigel Tranter’s Macbeth the King and Dorothy Dunn’s King Hereafter.
Key Facts about Lady Macbeth
  • Full Title: Lady Macbeth
  • When Written: 2000s
  • Where Written: Maryland, USA
  • When Published: 2008
  • Literary Period: Contemporary Fiction
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Setting: Medieval Scotland
  • Climax: Macbeth’s battle with Duncan
  • Antagonist: King Malcolm, Duncan, Malcolm mac Duncan
  • Point of View: First person, from Gruadh’s perspective

Extra Credit for Lady Macbeth

Alter Ego. Susan Fraser King has published her almost two-dozen novels under a variety of names, including Susan King and Sara Gabriel.

Creating History. There is only a single mention of Lady Macbeth in the historical record, and so Susan Fraser King made it her task to flesh out the life of this extraordinary woman based only on fragments of extant history.