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

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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.

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