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A Comparison of Shakespeare's MacBeth With the Real MacBeth, King of Scotland.

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Macbeth, a play written by William Shakespeare, portrays Macbeth as a kinsman, subject and trusted friend to King Duncan I of Scotland. A trusted friend, that is, until Macbeth has a chance encounter with the “three witches” (Shakespeare) or the “Weird Sisters”. The witches predict that Macbeth will become the next King and that his fellow companion, Banquo, will be the father of a line of kings. A change comes over Macbeth after his meeting; he is no longer content to be a follower of the King, he will “be” King at any cost. After killing the King and his friend Banquo, losing his wife to madness and ordering the execution of many, Macbeth is killed in much the same fashion as he has killed. But does this really reflect the real King MacBeth of Scotland? While examining the characteristics and actions of the two Macbeths and decide if Shakespeare’s writing was historically sound or was it just “double, double, toil and trouble” (4.1.22-26) playing with MacBeth’s character.

In order to keep our two characters separate, the Shakespearian character will be referred to as Macbeth and the actual historical character as MacBeth or King MacBeth, depending on the time. The following areas will be examined to find the “real” MacBeth: heritage and title, personality, deeds and death. The heritage will determine the legitimacy as heir to the throne and title to reflect rank and class; their personality, deeds and death to illustrate their worthiness of being king. In 1005 MacBeth MacFindlaech was born to Findlaech MacRuaridh and Doada, daughter of Malcolm I, making him in line to be King. It was around this same time that his grandfather (Malcolm II) became king. As was required for the children of important chieftains, M...

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