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Response to Shakespeare- Social and Historical Influence

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Sarah Turner 11A4 Response to Shakespeare- Social and Historical Influence Dear Master Hollinshed, I am writing to you in reply to the letter, which you sent me angrily criticising the changes I make to your chronicles in my play 'Macbeth'. I intend here to explain to you clearly the reasons behind my changes and answer each of your complaints. We both have different roles. I am a playwright who needs to bring audiences and make the play exciting for them. I am a playwright not a historian like you. Also you must be aware of the new king, King James. He is the patron of my theatre so I needed to please him and not offend him any way. Also King James was interested in witchcraft and this would also please the audience. A tragedy in my play will bring the audiences into my theatre. As for the structure if the play I needed characters that would appeal to my audiences. The story needs to be creative to bring the crowds in. I have acknowledged the facts set out by you are the truth but they needed to be altered for my play to bring crowds into the theatre. Now I will explain to you, point by point, why I changed them in my play. First I will take the point of Duncan and why I changed him in my play. ...read more.


I wanted to show that Macbeth had ambition and would do anything to achieve this. Also bad kings only rule for a short period this is why I also changed the time of Macbeth's reign. Audiences are always attracted to plays with the supernatural so to have a ghost of Banquo made the plat more dramatic. I have acknowledged that in fact there was no Banquet or Banquo's ghost but I wanted to show Macbeth's guilty conscience in the play to show that he had developed an unstable mind. The supernatural will bring more audiences into the theatre and it is entertaining. It also shows a weakness of Macbeth's character and brings dramatis effects to the play. Now I will tell you my reasons why I choose three witches rather than one. I did carefully acknowledge your chronicles and found that in the history of Macbeth there was only one witch. I knew that James had great interest in witchcraft so I wanted to please the king and give him what he wanted. As you might be aware a group of witches tried to kill King James and this turned him against witches. Not only had King James had an interest in witchcraft it was something that the public were very much aware of. ...read more.


Also I needed to make the witches prediction come true 'no one born a woman wouldn't hurt him' so that Macbeth thinks that he has nothing to worry about. The character that Macbeth had become ended up alone in his castle. It also shows that Macbeth was once high up and at the end was low which shows how bad kings who rule badly end up. Now I will explain why I changed Lady Macbeth. I did closely acknowledge your chronicles about Lady Macbeth didn't sleep walk or didn't commit suicide. My reasons for changing Lady Macbeth so that she sleep walked and did commit suicide to show the guilt gets to you in the end. Also it makes a dramatic scene and the sleepwalking adds a supernatural, dark scene to the audience. It was also to show that Macbeth had a powerful, corrupting influence on Lady Macbeth's character. I hope I have explained in this letter the reasons for the changes in my play from you chronicles. As you can now see I had to change your chronicles dramatically because I needed to please King James, give the audiences what they wanted and to bring the crowds into my theatre. Be sure, I didn't intend to offend you, as you are a well-respected man to this day. I have always admired your histories and they have inspired my play. I hope I have succeeded in convincing you of my reasons for my changes. Yours Faithfully William Shakespeare ...read more.

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