Discrepancies and Similarities between Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth and History

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During the eleventh century, an age of discordance, people quarrel over the throne and its succession. William Shakespeare, a playwright of the Renaissance, sculpts events from this era into a dramatic sequence of events. The Tragedy of Macbeth displays Macbeth, a zealous thane, and his successful homicide which results in his succession of the throne and his downfall. Each of The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare and history has discrepancies as well as similarities between its characters, settings, and plot events. One element that varies and coincides between Shakespeare’s Macbeth and its historical account is the characters. According to Shakespeare, Macbeth has a right to the throne through his title: “Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! / All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!” (I, iii, 49-50). The three witches proclaim to Macbeth that he is now Thane of Cawdor, which is next in line to the throne (I, iii, 49-50). However, according to historical records, Macbeth has a claim to succeed the throne through his mother (Encyclopaedia). In Macbeth, Shakespeare depicts a slight relation between Duncan and Macbeth: “O worthiest cousin!” (I, iv, 14). Duncan greets Macbeth as his cousin just as Macbeth returns to Forres from battle (I, iv, 14). Likewise, according to history, Duncan and Macbeth are in fact cousins (Encyclopaedia). Shakespeare displays Banquo as an impeccable individual who has no role in the slaying of Duncan: “… let us meet / And question this most bloody piece of work, / To know it further” (II, iii, 128-130). Banquo is perplexed by Duncan’s death, so he suggests that they investigate (II, iii, 128-130). Contradictory to the Shakespearian interpretation, history states that Banquo is a conniving asso... ... middle of paper ... ...us characters to capture his audience’s attention. Although components of Shakespeare’s play are imaginary when contrasting them to history, The Tragedy of Macbeth is less appealing without them, and they generate a more electrifying story. Works Cited Columbia University, Press. "Scone." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition (2013): 1. History Reference Center. Web. 11 November 2013. http://web.ebscohost.com. Encyclopaedia, Britannica. “Macbeth.” Britannica Biographies (2012): 1. History Reference Center. Web. 6 November 2013. http://web.ebscohost.com. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Prentice Hall Literature: The British Tradition: Alabama Common Core Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2014. 323-415. Print. Went, Alex. “Character Analysis Banquo.” 2013 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Web. 10 November 2013. http://www.cliffsnotes.com.
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