Altering Reality

1114 WordsJun 15, 20185 Pages
Not all fictional literary works are based on fictional events. In fact, many great works of literature are based on true life events, people, and places. One author who practices this method of writing is William Shakespeare. In Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, many similarities and contrasts of historical accounts are used to fuel the drama’s storyline. This is very apparent amongst the play’s characters, events, and settings. Shakespeare begins his historical references with the use of well-known historical characters. Two of the play’s main characters are two rivaling Scottish kings, Duncan I and Macbeth. Shakespeare does an excellent job in using contrasts of the actual kings, in The Tragedy of Macbeth. Shakespeare’s Duncan is…show more content…
The last example of Shakespeare’s historical references is Shakespeare’s settings. While most of Shakespeare’s references are contrasts, Shakespeare does stay true to many of the historical stages set before him. Like the historical background of the Scottish rivalry between Macbeth and Duncan, the drama takes place throughout the Scottish country side (Shakespeare). In fact, many of Shakespeare’s main settings are based on real Scottish landmarks. One of these landmarks is the ancient fort of Dunsinane, which is Shakespeare’s setting for the castle of the king of Scotland. Although, this is not the home place of the actual Scottish king, it is in close proximity to Birnham Wood (“Dunsinane”), the same Birnham Wood referred to by the witches of The Tragedy of Macbeth. “Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnham Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him” (Shakespeare 355; Act IV Scene I ll 92-94). According to some scholars, the reason for the significance of Birnham Wood in Shakespeare’s tragedy is related to the historical, victorious battle of Macbeth near Dunkeld, a modern region of Perth and Kinross, which happens to be in close proximity to Birnham Wood as well (“Macbeth”). Birnham Wood is also the setting for one of Macbeth’s defeats by Siward, earl of Northunbria, in 1054 (“Dunsinane”). While these settings are closely related, one of Shakespeare’s settings contrasts quite a bit. Cawdor, a castle in
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