Shakespeare and Holinshed both wrote similar plays about a tyrant king who gained control of the throne through destructive means. There are several big similarities between the two plays and it is commonly believed that Shakespeare copied Holinshed’s Chronicles and changed a couple factors of the play in order to cater to King James’ interests. Some of the aspects which Shakespeare revised were the witches and the characters: Banquo, Duncan, and Macbeth himself.
In the play Macbeth, the main character Macbeth and his trusted friend, Banquo, come upon three witches who tell them their future. The plays differ in their description of the appearance of the witches. The witches in Macbeth are old and pictured as scary and not from this world. Banquo described them as, “That look not like th ' inhabitants o ' th ' Earth/ And yet are on 't?—Live you?/ Or are you aught That man may question? /You should be women,And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so” (1.3.42-44;47-49). The witches from Holinshed’s Chronicles were said to be beautiful creatures from the woods like nymphs or fairies. Shakespeare researched witchcraft when he decided to write the play in order to change the characters for the new era. By changing the description of the witches Shakespeare’s version of Macbeth instilled fear into the audience and empathy for Macbeth.
Banquo plays a large part in both plays. In Holinshed’s Chronicles, Banquo assisted Macbeth in the murder of the king, and in both versions, Banquo is killed by Macbeth. Once Macbeth killed Banquo he began to fear the people and the people began to fear him for he had become evil. Banquho’s death led to evil in Makbeth, “ After the contriued slaughter of Banquho, nothing pro...
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...version, the reader is not informed of how much time has passed or if he was ever a good king. One of the main differences is the amount of information we are given about Mcbeth. Shakespeare attempts to present Macbeth as an intelligent and ambitious man who turned barbarian, while Holinshed does not give as much detail into the character of Macbeth.
Two plays similar but different tell the same story of a man named Macbeth who became king, by killing the former king. Holinshed wrote Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1587 and later Shakespeare wrote a similar play named Macbeth in 1606. Shakespeare copied Holinshed’s play but changed some of the characters and scenes in order to create a more dramatic play. The reason for changing the play was to add his own touch and to please King James, who was interested in witchcraft at the time.
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