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Historical MacBeth compared to Shakespeares MacBeth Although most of Shakespeares play MacBeth is not historically accurate MacBeths life is the subject of the tragedy There are characters and events that are based on true events and real persons but Shakespeares MacBeth differs significantly from historys MacBeth The first example of a difference between the Shakespeare MacBeth and historical MacBeth is the death of Duncan I In Shakespeares MacBeth Duncan I was murdered by MacBeth A prophecy said to MacBeth by one of the three witches All hail MacBeth that shalt be King hereafter1 was what prompted Gruoch MacBeths wife to plot the murder of Duncan I as he slept in their castle In history MacBeth established himself as the King of Scots after killing his cousin Duncan I in battle near Elgin not as in Shakespeares play by killing him in his sleep Duncan I was killed on August 14 1040 MacBeth then reigned as king for seventeen years As previously stated Duncan I and MacBeth were cousins a fact not brought out in the play Shakespeare loosely based the play MacBeth on events he found in Raphael Holinsheds Chronicles of England Scotland and Ireland Raphael Holinsheds Chronicles of England Scotland and Ireland are the materials that furnished Shakespeare with his plot2 The chronicles were an account of the history of the country of which they came from Another major difference is that Duncan I was not the ageing and respected king Shakespeare makes him out to be In real life Fiona Summerset Fry author of History of Scotland says He was actually an impetuous and spoilt young man whose six years of kingship brought glory neither to Scotland nor to his family3 In the plays last scene McDuff kills MacBeth and automatically becomes the new King of Scots In actual history MacBeth is killed by Malcom III but Lulach
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