How Shakespeare Altered the History of Macbeth Essay

In what is said to be one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, Macbeth, there are many historical inaccuracies. Many experts in literature believe Shakespeare did this for a couple reasons. One reason is that the changes in history give the play a more dramatic purpose and more exciting story than what actually happened. Another reason could be to give Macbeth and more complicated characterization. The most believed reason that Shakespeare altered history was because he wanted to cater to the desires of the current monarch, King James the First, who was a descendant of Banquo, one of the main characters of the story.

The first known inaccuracy made was in reference to Macdonwald. Mcdonwald was a rebel and an enemy of Macbeth and the Scottish kingdom. In the play, Macbeth kills him heroically in battle. Author Amanda Mabillard writes that “Macbeth is introduced as a valiantgentleman, and, as in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth is sent by King Duncan to crush the rebellion led by Mackdonwald … to ensure Macbeth is viewed early in the play as extraordinarily courageous.” She is saying that Macbeth was introduced as heroically as possible, within reason, even though that is not actually how it happened in real life. However, according to the Chronicles, Holinshed writes “… [Mackdonwald] slue his wife and children, and lastlie himself … Macbeth entering into the castell by the gates, found the carcasse of Mackdonwald lieng dead … he caused the head to be cut off, and set upon a poles end, and so sent it as a present to the king” (Weller 1) So in reality, Macdonwald had killed his family and then himself and Macbeth found him and cut his head off which he then put on a pole to be sent it to the king. This shows that Shakespear…

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…. “The Historical Inaccuracies of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.” Teen Ink. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. .Johnson, Ben. “Duncan and MacBeth.” The Real Duncan and Macbeth. Historic UK, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare’s Sources for Macbeth. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. .”Shakespeare’s Macbeth.” Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Georgia Perimeter College, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .Weller, Philip. “Macbeth Navigator.” The Source of Macbeth: Holinshed’s Chronicles. Philip Weller, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. .


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