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Holinshed's Chronicles and Macbeth: A Comparison

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Julia Carmen Vascan

on 4 April 2012

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Transcript of Holinshed's Chronicles and Macbeth: A Comparison

Holinshed's Chronicles: A Comparison

Works Cited

Mabillard, Amanda. "Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth." ShakespeareOnline. Shakespeare Online, 20 Aug 2000. Web. 1 Apr 2012. <http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sources/macbethsources.html>.

Mabillard, Amanda. "Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth." ShakespearOnline. Shakespeare Online, 20 Aug 2000. Web. 1 Apr 2012. <http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sources/macbethsources2.html>.

Holinshed, Raphael. "The Holinshed Project." Macbeth's Encounter with the Witches. The Holinshed Project, 2012. Web. 1 Apr 2012.

Nostbakken, Faith. Understanding Macbeth: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport: Connecticut , 1997. 95-96. eBook.

"Raphael Holinshed." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2012.

. "William Shakespeare and Holinshed’s Chronicles." Long Wharf Theater. Long Wharf Theater, n.d. Web. 1 Apr 2012.
Macbeth and Banquo defeated Macdonwald.
In Holinshed's Chronicles Banquo was an accomplice to Duncan's murder
In Macbeth, Shakespeare presented Banquo as more morally upright.
Like the play, Macbeth had Banquo murdered.
In Holinshed's Chronicles, Macbeth was sent by King Duncan to kill Mackdonwald. To make him seem more courageous, Shakespeare had Macbeth find Mackdonwald and kill him in battle.
Creates a stronger tragic hero
Makbeth was "a valiant gentleman, and one that if he had not béene somewhat cruell of nature, might haue béene ... woorthie [of] the gouernement of a realme."
Banquo (Banquho)
Macbeth (Makbeth/Mackbeth)
Holinshed's Chronicles
Titled "Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland"
Published 1577 & 1587 by Raphael Holinshed
A source for many playwrights and poets, including Shakespeare, Spenser, Daniel, and Drayton.
1587 version: source for Macbeth
source for other works e.g. King Lear
Cousin of Macbeth
Duncane was "soft and gentle of nature."
"The beginning of Duncans reigne was verie quiet and peaceable, ...but after it was perceiued how negligent he was in punishing offendors, manie misruled persons tooke occasion ... to trouble the peace ... of the common-wealth, by seditious commotions...."
Similar to the Duncan that appears in the play:
"He was a gentleman on whom I built/An absolute trust." (I.iv.15-6)
Duncan (Duncane)
"Monstrous sights also that were seene within the Scotish kingdome that yéere were these: horsses in Louthian, being of singular beautie and swiftnesse, did eate their owne flesh, and would in no wise taste anie other meate. "
"There was a sparhawke also strangled by an owle."
Other similarities
Macbeth and Banquo
journeyed towards Forres,
and "there met ... thrée women in strange and wild apparell, ... [and] the first of them spake[:] ... All haile Makbeth, thane of Glammis ... The second of them said; Haile Makbeth thane of Cawder. But the third said;

"All haile Makbeth that héereafter shalt he [sic] king of Scotland."
Then Banquo said, "'What manner of women...are you; that séeme so little fauourable vnto me, whereas to my follow heere...ye assigne ... the kingdome, appointing foorth nothing for me at all' & [One said] 'Yes...we promise greater benefits vnto thée, than vnto him, for he shall reigne in déed, but ... of thée those shall be borne which shall gouerne the Scotish kingdome by long order of continuall descent.' Herewith the foresaid women vanished immediatlie out of their sight."
"Shortlie after, the thane of Cawder being condemned at Fores of treason against the king...his lands, liuings, and offices were giuen...to Mackbeth."
Duncan "...made the elder of [his sons] ... Malcolme prince of Cumberland, as it were thereby to appoint him his successor in the kingdome, immediatlie after his deceasse."
"Mackbeth [was] sore[ly] troubled herewith ... [and] began to take counsell how he might vsurpe the kingdome by force."
"The woords of the thrée weird sisters also ... greatlie incouraged him herevnto, but speciallie his wife lay sore vpon him to attempt the thing, as she ... was verie ambitious, burning in vnquenchable desire to beare the name of a quéene."
"At length therefore,
communicating his purposed intent with his trustie friends, amongst whome Banquho was the chiefest
...he [Macbeth] slue the king at Enuerns [i. e., Inverness] ... in the sixt yeare of his reigne. "
"Malcolme Cammore and Donald Bane the sons of king Duncane, for feare of their liues ... fled into Cumberland, where Malcolme remained, ... but Donald passed ouer into Ireland."
Macbeth instituted "commendable lawes"
Macbeth recalled that the kingdom had been
promised "vnto the posteritie of Banquho." Therefore,
he "willed ... Banquho with his sonne ... Fleance, to come to a supper that he had prepared for them, which was in déed, as he had deuised, present death at the hands of certeine murderers."
"It chanced yet by the benefit of the darke night, that though the father were [sic] slaine, the sonne yet by the helpe of almightie God reseruing him to better fortune, escaped that danger. ... Fleance therefore ... fled into Wales."
"A certeune witch ... told [Macbeth] that he should neuer be slaine with man borne of anie woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bernane came to the castell of Dunsinane. By this prophesie Makbeth put all feare out of his heart, ... he beléeued it was vnpossible for anie man to vanquish him... . This vaine hope caused him to doo manie outragious things, to the gréeuous oppression of his subiects."

The witches also told Macbeth that
"[he] ought to take héed of Makduffe, who in time to come should seeke to destroie him."
Upon entering Macduff's castle, although Macduff had fled to England, "Makbeth most cruellie caused the wife and children of Makduffe, with all other whom he found in that castell, to be slaine."
To Macduff, Malcolm said that "immoderate lust and voluptuous sensualitie ... followeth me" and that "I am also the most auaritious creature on the earth, so that if I were king, I should séeke so manie waies to get lands and goods, that I would slea the most part of all the nobles of Scotland by surmized accusations...."
Macduff then uttered
his exclamation; "Oh ye vnhappie and miserable Scotishmen, which are thus scourged with so manie and sundrie calamities, ech one about other...."
When Macduff was ready to depart, "Malcolme tooke him by the sléeue, and said: Be of good comfort Makduffe, for I haue none of these vices before remembred, but haue iested with thée in this manner, onelie to prooue thy mind...."
Malcolm, in his attack on Dunsinane, "commanded euerie man to get a bough of some trée or other of that wood in his hand, as big as he might beare, and to march foorth therewith in such wise."
When Macbeth perceived their [the troops'] numbers, [he] betooke him streict to flight, ... Makduffe pursued [him] with great hatred ....
Makbeth ... leapt beside ... [Macduff's] horsse, saieng;
'Thou traitor, what meaneth it that thou shouldest thus in vaine follow me that am not appointed to be slaine by anie creature that is borne of a woman, come on therefore, and receiue thy reward which thou hast deserued for thy paines,'."
Macbeth then attacked Macduff, thinking to have slain him.
Macduff, avoiding Macbeth's attack, said:
"'It is true Makbeth, and now shall thine insatiable crueltie haue an end, for I am euen he that thy wizzards haue told thée of, who was neuer borne of my mother, but ripped out of her wombe:' therewithall he stept vnto him, and slue him in the place." He then brought Macbeth's head to Malcolm.
Holinshed also includes the following:
"This was the end of Makbeth, after he had reigned 17 yéeres ouer the Scotishmen.
In the beginning of his reigne he accomplished manie woorthie acts
...but afterward by illusion of the diuell, he defamed the same with most terrible crueltie." Macbeth died in 1057 A.D.
Scotorum Historiae
based upon
Written 1527 by Hector Boece
Source for Holinshed's Chronicles
Basis of Macbeth's history in Holinshed's Chronicles
Originally written in Latin, then published in French and later English
A project by:
Bertrand Stone
Julia Carmen Vascan
& Angela Chen

"He willed therefore the same Banquho with his sonne named Fleance, to come to a supper that he had prepared for them which was in déed, as he had deuised, present death at the hands of certeine murderers, whom he hired to execute that déed, appointing them to meete with the same Banquho and his sonne without the palace, as they returned to their lodgings, and there to slea them, so that he would not haue his house slandered, but that in time to come he might cleare himselfe, if anie thing were laid to his charge vpon anie suspicion that might arise." (Holinshed's Chronicles, 271)
"Banquho the thane of Lochquhaber, of whom the house of the Stewards is descended, the which by order of linage hath now for a long time inioied* the crowne of Scotland, euen till these our daies, as he gathered the finances due to the king... had much a doo to get awaie with life" (Holinshed, 264)
The Holinshed Chronicles & Shakespeare
Scotorum Historiae
Timeline: plot differences
The Witches & Prophesies
Other plot similarities
Shakespeare based much of Macbeth upon Holinshed's Chronicles
plot and characters changed for dramatic effect and political reasons
The Witches
Some plot details stayed the same, e.g. the Witches prophecies
The Witches (The Three Weird Sisters)
"What are these,
So withered, and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't?" (1.4)

"...each her choppy finger [lays]
Upon her skinny lips. You should be women
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so." (1.4)
"It fortuned as Makbeth and Banquho iournied... without other companie...passing through the woods and fields, when suddenlie in the middest of a laund ...there met them three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world, whome when they atteniuilie beheld,"
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