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The Tragedy Of Macbeth: The Play Vs. The History

989 words - 4 pages

The Tragedy of Macbeth is written by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s works are collected and printed in various editions in the century following his death. Shakespeare’s Macbeth shocks and captivates readers for nearly four hundred years. The Tragedy of Macbeth is not a complex play but is filled with intense and powerful scenes. The historical version and the play version compare and contrast in many ways.
The setting of the play compared to the setting during the historical times are similar. Both the play, The Tragedy of Macbeth and the story of Macbeth in history take place in different locations in Scotland. The time is during the Middle Ages, precisely the eleventh century, from 1040-1057 (“Macbeth”).
The characters from the play compared to people of the historical version differ, but are also similar. One of the characters is Macbeth. In the play, Macbeth is a nobleman of Scotland and is possessed with the need of power. He becomes Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor, but with the help of his wife, Lady Macbeth, he seizes the desire to become King of Scotland: “…This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing…” (Shakespeare 312; ll 9-11). Macbeth kills the king of Scotland, Duncan I, in his sleep: “Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep’---the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day’s life…” (Shakespeare 323; ll 34-37). Macbeth then becomes King of Scotland after the death of King Duncan I. However, in the historical version Macbeth becomes King of Scotland with the help of the other noblemen that are displeased with King Duncan I. Macbeth symbolizes the northern elements in the population of Scotland who are opposed to the ties of the Saxons supported by Duncan I. (Columbia University, Press). Macbeth becomes a true official king. Another character is Duncan I. In the play, Duncan I is King of Scotland. Duncan I is a real friendly king who has respect for people and is polite: “See, see, our honored hostess! The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, Which still we thank us love. Herein I teach you How you shall bid God ‘ield us for your pains And thank us for your trouble” (Shakespeare 314; ll 10-14). Here Duncan I is thanking Lady Macbeth for being their hostess and for putting up with them. Duncan I gives Macbeth the honor to be Thane of Cawdor because Macbeth saves his life: “No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth” (Shakespeare 304; ll 63-65). The historical version of Duncan I resembles the character of Duncan I in the play. In history, Duncan I is described as being an ideal, honorable, compassionate, and wise king. He has a good head on his shoulder (“Macbeth”). Duncan I is a great king, and after his...

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