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Shakespeare's plays shows his tender love of children. He saw his daughter Judith married to the son of one of his old friends, and Jonson and Drayton, who visited him in this year, may have come down to help celebrate the wedding festivities. Shortly afterward Shakespeare fell ill of a fever, rising probably from the dirty streets and choked gutters of the little town. He had time to make his will and dispose of all his property, leaving the greater part of his estate to Susanna, a handsome portion to Judith, and his second best bed to his wife. He died on the 23d of April, 1616, and was buried inside the beautiful parish church of Stratford. The handsome monument erected over the grave testifies as plainly to the affection with which his family regarded the poet, as its pompous Latin epitaph does to their entire incomprehension of his genius. The true monument to Shakespeare's genius is that erected by his friends, Heming and Condell, who, in 1623, seven years after his death, published the first collected edition of his dramas; and one line of the poem by Ben Jonson prefixed to this edition is, perhaps, the most fitting epitaph ever penned for Shakespeare:

"He was not of an age, but for all time."


In the year 1610 Dr. Simon Forman, a notorious London quack, entered in a little note-book, which some lucky chance has preserved for us, a detailed account of a performance of Macbeth at the Globe Theatre on April 20 of that year. This gives us, of course, positive proof that Macbeth was already on the stage in 1610. That it cannot have been written before the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603 is established by the reference in the play to the union of the kingdoms (iv. 1. 120, 121), and by the allusion to James's practice of "touching for the evil" (iv. 3. 141-156). Somewhere between these dates, then, the play must have been composed, and most editors now agree on the year 1606. It is not impossible that Shakespeare's attention was attracted to the story by a college performance at Oxford in August of 1605, when three students, attired like the weird sisters of the legend, reminded King James of the prophecy once made to his ancestor, Banquo.

Shakespeare found the story of Banquo and Macbeth told at full length in one of his favourite books, Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland. In brief Holinshed's account is as follows:


King Duncan was so soft and gentle of nature that he was unable to restrain his unruly subjects. A certain Macdowald headed a rebellious army, including numbers of men from the western isles and many kerns and gallowglasses from Ireland. After some successes he was attacked and defeated by Macbeth and Banquo, whereupon he slew himself, and his head was cut off and sent as a present to King Duncan.

Immediately thereafter Sweno, king of Norway, landed in Fife with a great army. He was, however, expelled by Macbeth, who also defeated an invading army of Danes, and forced them to pay a great sum of gold to secure the burial of their dead at St. Colme's Inch.

Not long after these victories, while Macbeth and Banquo were walking alone through the woods and fields, there met them three women in strange and wild apparel, resembling creatures of elder world." The first of these spake and said, " All hail, Macbeth, thane of Glamis; the second, "Hail, Macbeth, thane of Cawdor;" but the third said "All hail, Macbeth, that hereafter shalt be king of Scotland." When Banquo bade the women speak to him, the first of them replied that they promised him greater benefits than Macbeth, who should reign indeed, but should come to an unlucky end and leave no heirs to the crown, whereas Banquo, though not destined himself to reign, should be the father of a long line of Scottish kings. And hereupon the women vanished.

At first Macbeth and Banquo thought little of this vision and even jested over the prophecies. But afterward it was thought that these women were either the weird sisters, that is, the goddesses of destiny, or else nymphs or fairies, because all came to pass as they had spoken. For in a little while the thane of Cawdor was condemned for high treason and his title and estate were conferred upon Macbeth. Thereupon Macbeth began to consider how he might obtain the crown as well. At first he decided to wait until Divine Providence should make him king; but when Duncan proclaimed his first-born son, Malcolm, Prince of Cumberland and heir to the kingdom, Macbeth determined to seize the throne by force.

In this design he was encouraged by his wife, who was very ambitious, "burning in unquenchable desire to bear the name of a queen." At last Macbeth with a number of trusty friends, of whom Banquo was the chief, fell upon Duncan and slew him at Inverness. Duncan's body was interred at Colmekill; and Macbeth went to Scone, where he was

crowned king. The sons of Duncan, Malcolm, and Donald Bane, fled to England and Ireland respectively, and Macbeth reigned unopposed in Scotland.

For ten years Macbeth ruled the land with impartial justice. But at last, through fear that he might be treated as he had served Duncan, he began to practise cruelty. Remembering the prophecy of the witches to Banquo, he invited his old friend, along with his son, Fleance, to a banquet, and set murderers upon them as they left the palace. Banquo was slain; but Fleance escaped and fled to Wales.

After the murder of Banquo nothing prospered with Macbeth, his subjects distrusted him, and he in turn feared them. Certain wizards warned him against Macduff, one of his nobles, and he would surely have slain him at once, but a witch whom he trusted prophesied that he should never be killed by any man born of woman, and never vanquished until Birnam wood came to his castle of Dunsinane. Confident in this prophecy he took no steps against Macduff, but oppressed his people more cruelly than before.

.Finally Macduff decided to invite the exiled Malcolm to claim his father's throne. Macbeth heard of this through a spy, and came to Macduff's castle where he massacred Macduff's wife and children, and all his retainers. But Macduff himself had already escaped to England, where he told Malcolm of the usurper's cruelty, and urged him to invade Scotland. Malcolm, however, suspected that Macduff might be sent by Macbeth to betray him, and, to put him to the test, he began to accuse himself of all sorts of vices, especially of licentiousness, avarice, and falsehood. Thereupon Macduff broke out into lament over the wretched state of Scotland, oppressed by a bloody tyrant, and deserted by the true heir who was unworthy to obtain the crown. At this proof

of his true patriotism Malcolm embraced Macduff, and shortly after they invaded Scotland, supported by Siward of Northumberland with ten thousand men.

On his way to attack Dunsinane, where Macbeth had shut himself up, Malcolm passed through Birnam wood, and in order to conceal the numbers of his troop he ordered every soldier to cut down a bough and bear it before him. When Macbeth saw the moving wood approaching, he realized that the prophecy was now fulfilled, and straightway took to flight. Macduff, however, overtook him, and destroyed his last hope by declaring that he was the destined slayer of

Macbeth, inasmuch as he had not been born of woman, but had been ripped from his mother's womb. And with these words he cut off Macbeth's head and brought it on a pole to Malcolm. This prince was then crowned at Scone, and rewarded his followers by promoting those who had before been thanes to be earls. And these were the first earls in Scotland.

It is plain that Shakespeare not only held closely to the general outline of the story as he read it in Holinshed, but that he also borrowed from it many minute details and even phrases which with the finest art he adapted to his dramatic purposes. At the same time there are several notable divergences.

In the first place Shakespeare compressed the introductory matter as much as possible, only reporting Macbeth's double victory on one great day of battle in order to set him before us as a loyal and successful soldier. For the sake of unity he brought the treason of Cawdor into connection with Sweno's invasion, and he heightened the rapidity of the action by bestowing Cawdor's title upon Macbeth immediately after the prophecy of the weird sisters.

More important, however, is Shakespeare's departure from his sources as regards his treatment of the character of Banquo. This departure was probably due in the first place to the fact that Shakespeare felt it impossible to represent the ancestor of the reigning sovereign as a rebel and a partner with Macbeth in the murder of their king. And, secondly, he realized that from the dramatic point of view it would be a great improvement on the story if he presented in Banquo a sharp contrast to Macbeth, and


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