A heath Macbeth meets the witches Groups of witches gather in a wood beside a battlefield, exchanging stories of the "evils" they have done. The victorious generals Macbeth and Banco enter. The witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis a title he already holds by inheritanceThane of Cawdor, and king "hereafter.
Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth Shakespeare's chief source for Macbeth was Holinshed's Chronicles Macbethwho based his account of Scotland's history, and Macbeth's in particular, on the Scotorum Historiae, written in by Hector Boece.
Other minor sources contributed to Shakespeare's dramatic version of history, including Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, and Daemonologie, written in by King James I.
Macbeth's words on dogs and men in Act 3, scene 1,likely came from Colloquia, the memoirs of Erasmus edition circa The plays of Seneca seem to have had great influence on Shakespeare, and, although no direct similarities to the work of Seneca can be seen in Macbeth, the overall atmosphere of the play and the depiction of Lady Macbeth can be attributed to the Latin author.
An examination of Macbeth and Shakespeare's sources leads us to formulate several conclusions concerning the motives behind the dramatists alterations. It can be argued that the changes serve three main purposes: And, in the grander scheme, Shakespeare's alterations function to convey the sentiment echoed in many of his works — that there is a divine right of kings, and that to usurp the throne is a nefarious crime against all of humanity.
In Holinshed's Chronicles, Macbeth is introduced as a valiant gentleman, and, as in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth is sent by King Duncan to crush the rebellion led by Mackdonwald.
However, to ensure Macbeth is viewed early in the play as extraordinarily courageous, Shakespeare changes Macbeth's role in the demise of Mackdonwald as presented in the Chronicles: Macbeth entering into the castell by the gates, found the carcasse of Mackdonwald lieng dead there amongst the residue of the slaine bodies, which when he beheld, remitting no peece of his cruell nature with that pitiful sight, he caused the head to be cut off, and set upon a poles end, and so sent it as a present to the king.
Contrasting with the above passage, in the drama Macbeth has not simply stumbled upon the body of the rebel, he has instead heroically killed Mackdonwald in battle: For brave Macbeth — well he deserves that name — Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish'd steel, Which smok'd with bloody execution, Like Valor's minion carv'd out his passage Till he faced the slave; Which nev'r shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseam'd him from the nave to th' chops, And fix'd his head upon our battlements I.
In addition to the dramatic effect of making the report from the Captain more exciting, enhancing the bravery of Macbeth by altering his part in the defeat of Mackdonwald aids Shakespeare's construction of Macbeth as a tragic hero.
Our first impression of Macbeth must be one of grandeur; he must command our attention at once for what occurs in the rest of the play to be significant.
As a brave warrior and leader, Macbeth is capable of taking others' burdens upon himself. Our awareness of the strength and assuredness Macbeth possesses early in the drama is important when we later witness his downfall and mental decay to the point where he is not capable of handling even his own burdens.
To assist in his more complex interpretation of Macbeth, Shakespeare had to move outside of Holinshed's account which gives no real analysis of Macbeth's character or motivation.
Shakespeare turned to George Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, and to other previous passages in Holinshed's own work.
Buchanan relays the following: Macbeth was a man of penetrating genius, a high spirit, unbounded ambition, and, if he had possessed moderation, was worthy of any command however great; but in punishing crimes he exercised a severity, which, exceeding the bounds of the laws, appeared apt to degenerate into cruelty.
Shakespeare's Macbeth is indeed an intelligent man, ambitious and spirited. However, Shakespeare deviates from Buchanan's depiction of Macbeth as a cruel, barbarous man, a notion also put forth by Holinshed. Despite the murders Macbeth will commit, Shakespeare presents him as a gentle, thoughtful man who can love wholeheartedly, as we see in his interactions with his wife.
Lady Macbeth herself illustrates that Macbeth's nature is " Here Holinshed relates the story of King Kenneth, tormented by a guilty conscience after he has butchered his nephew: It shall therefore come to pass, that both thou thy self, and thy issue, through the just vengeance of almightie God, shall suffer woorthie punishment' The King with this voice being striken into great dred and terror, passed the night without any sleep coming in his eyes.
Holinshed, Also apparent in Shakespeare's text are elements of Buchanan's dramatization of the voice King Kenneth hears: At last, whether in truth an audible voice from heaven addressed him, as is reported, or whether it were the suggestion of his own guilty mind, as often happens to the wicked, in the silent watches of the night Buchanan, Clearly, the two aforementioned depictions of Kenneth's experience are recognizable in Shakespeare's Macbeth who is also plagued by a guilty conscience: Methought, I heard a voice cry, 'Sleep no more!
Macbeth doth murther Sleep,' --the innocent Sleep, Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care Still it cried 'Sleep no more! Macbeth shall sleep no more!
The dramatic purposes served by Shakespeare's unique portrait of a compassionate, tender Macbeth, and his adaptation of Kenneth's eerie story are obvious — who would care to sit through the play if Macbeth were the static character found in Holinshed?Get an answer for 'Discuss three factors which contribute to the downfall of Lady Macbeth.
' and find homework help for other Macbeth questions at eNotes.
The witches' prophecies influence, Lady Macbeth's influences, and Macbeth's great ambition, all had a major role in the tragic downfall of Macbeth, which is his death. Macbeth chose to gamble with his life but in the end it was really his decision to lose it.
Macbeth's downfall is attributed to a sense of over-confidence and unchecked ambition, and the impact of the witch's prophecy all three seal Macbeth's fate and his destruction At the start of the.
History Documentaries. The Castles of feelthefish.com documentary explores the romantic history of the clans through tours of castles that have witnessed centuries of war and treachery. Who is Hecate in Macbeth? Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, and one can view her as the ruler of the Three feelthefish.com Act 3, Scene 5, Hecate appears before the Witches and demands to know why she has been excluded from their meetings with Macbeth.
Thus his appetite is further whetted for murder. Bursting with pride and ambition, Macbeth sends a letter home to his wife, Lady Macbeth, informing her of the prediction of the witches, who “have more in them than mortal knowledge” (), that he will one day become king.