• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Identify At Least Three Ways In Which Shakespeare’S Drama Differs From Its Major Source: Holinshed’S Chronicles.

Extracts from this document...


IDENTIFY AT LEAST THREE WAYS IN WHICH SHAKESPEARE'S DRAMA DIFFERS FROM ITS MAJOR SOURCE: HOLINSHED'S CHRONICLES. DISCUSS THE DRAMATIC IMPACT OF HIS ADAPTATIONS Holinshed's Chronicles is the source of Shakespeare's play "Macbeth". The Chronicles illustrate Scottish history and Shakespeare has adapted these simple stories into a dramatic masterpiece. However, Shakespeare has selected various parts of the Scottish history and adapted them to give dramatic effect. This essay will cover three areas of difference between Shakespeare's Macbeth and Holinshed's Chronicles and how they affect the dramatic impact of the play; Shakespeare's portrayal of Duncan, Shakespeare's introduction of the banquet scene, and Shakespeare's introduction of the cauldron scene. The first example of these differences is the way Shakespeare portrays Duncan, the King of Scotland. In Holinshed's Chronicles Duncan is portrayed as "so soft and gentle of nature" (p.167). Shakespeare, however, describes Duncan as an old and mighty king. This is visible in Act 1 Scene 4 where Duncan says, "The swiftest wing of recompense is slow to overtake thee". The reason Shakespeare does this is to add dramatic impact in that if Duncan had been portrayed as weak, feeble, and too soft as in Holinshed's ...read more.


This scene is not chronicled in Holinsheds chronicles. The scene is completely fictitious - it is Shakespeare's creation. Had the banquet scene occurred in real life it would have been seen as unimportant by Holinshed as kings and queens regularly held banquets. Why should this banquet be different to any other? Shakespeare uses this scene to increase the dramatic impact of the play and uses it to illustrate the extent of Macbeth's insanity and his wife's efforts to cover it up. The scenes before this banquet showed Macbeth's ever increasing guilt and tension. Then, in Act 3, Scene 4 (the banquet scene he is tipped over the edge of his tolerance by the news of Fleance's escape from the murderers. This scene is necessary to allow the audience to see Macbeth snap with the pressure he is facing. Act 3, Scene 4 is also the moment when others find out about Macbeth's insanity. This gives the audience a clear insight into Macbeth's inevitable downfall as King of Scotland. The banquet is normally seen to be a place of friendship and community, but Macbeth's disrupted banquet signifies the moral decay of both himself and Scotland. ...read more.


This drawn out giving of information intrigues the audience making them eager to find out what will become of Macbeth. A series of apparitions are produced from the witches' cauldron in the scene. The third apparition says, "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him". These words put Macbeth's mind at rest as he thinks no man, or his army, is able to move an entire wood. This also tells the audience that Macbeth is safe. This scene is vital tot he play as it makes way for a twist to the plot when Malcolm and MacDuff's army uproots Birnam wood as a disguise. This permits Shakespeare to add the element of surprise to the play, thereby making the dramatic impact a whole lot greater. All three of these points I have emphasised show the way in which Shakespeare can create huge amounts of tension from a blank page or just a simple historical story. These differences between Holinshed's Chronicles and Shakespeare's Macbeth illustrate the way Shakespeare takes a story and moulds, shapes, and adapts it into a theatrical masterpiece which will keep its audience gripped until the very last word. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    to offend, pluck it out', as Macbeth would rather be blind than see the blood on his hands, the reminder of his sin. The extreme horror of the situation can be felt through this. Once more, the audience can sense Macbeth's guilt through a metaphor and interrogative~ "will all Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?"

  2. How does Shakespeare adapt the holinshed chronicles to create an entertaining piece of theatre?

    Shakespeare is very creative with the way he uses the witches to incorporate the audience into the play. The witches often equivocate when talking to Macbeth, misleading and confusing him, "The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth."

  1. What part do the witches and the supernatural play in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” ?

    During the play the witches never stay for long and the audience doesn't get time to get to know them. This keeps them more mysterious. The supernatural theme that runs constantly through the play does not only include the witches.

  2. Write about the creation of dramatic tension in act 2, scene 2 of “Macbeth” ...

    Because the both want to be at the top and have control and are prepared to do anything for it even if it means killing best mates to stay at the top.

  1. Examine some of the ways in which Shakespeare makes the portrayal of Macbeth's downfall ...

    line shows that a part of Macbeth wants to turn to darkness, a part of Macbeth wants to turn to evil. He is questioning why he is thinking of evil, why is he giving/(yield) in to evil. Shakespeare makes the downfall subtle but it gives a hint to the reader that his downfall has only begun.

  2. What Are The Attitudes Towards Gender That Can Be Seen In Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

    Once he became 'sober' he has lost this confidence, which is shown when he no longer wants any participation in anything related to the murder. He is now "pale and green" like a hangover. Lady Macbeth thinks that her husband is a coward.

  1. Explore the portrayal of Macbeth within act 1 of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth commenting on ...

    I will be examining each scene to explore the character of Macbeth, linking evidence and examining the underlying themes of cunning plans, deceit, death, and murder. As customary as it is to start with the beginning I will start with scene 1 of the play.

  2. How would Shakespeare’s audience have reacted to the ‘supernatural scenes’ in Macbeth and how ...

    seen this as almost undeniable proof that they were - thereby provoking a mixed feeling of fear and hate. At that time, the common man or woman were uneducated and learnt everything from the church. Although there were deep divisions between Catholics and protestants, nearly everyone believed in Heaven or

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work