Macbeth: Catholic or Protestant?

William Shakespeare was influenced greatly by religion. During the time Shakespeare was writing Macbeth there was a great debate over religion in England. Shakespeare by law was made to swear off the Catholic church and declare his allegiance to the Protestant church. However, through all of Shakespeare’s writings it is unclear if he was Catholic or Protestant. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth one can see clear indications of Anti-Catholic movements but also pro-Catholic as well. Throughout the play Macbeth references Catholic beliefs such as free will and how Macbeth has a choice in determining his fate the entire time. Macbeth also references the Jesuit and the Gunpowder where the anti-Catholic propaganda and fear from the public spurned an attempt to kill King James and  his parliament. Many scholars can not decide if Macbeth was written as an Anti Catholic movement piece. For example,”another important Reformation Protestant feature of Macbeth significant for [the] argument [that Macbeth is a protestant piece] involves the suggestion that Macbeth may be a reprobate, a soul ordained for Hell by God before the beginning of the world ”(Hunt 382). Thus, in 1606, many did consider Macbeth a protestant play.

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