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IS THAT A DAGGER I SEE BEFORE ME?
The real story
Shakespeare's play "MacBeth" is losely based on this story of the death of King Duncan at the hands of his kinsman Macbeth:
After King Malcolm II's murder by his nobles at Glamis, Duncan killed his opponents and seized the throne as King Duncan I. His first cousins, Macbeth and Thorfinn the Raven Feeder, Norwegian Earl of Orkney, united to advance MacBeth's claim to the throne through his mother, another daughter of Malcolm II. Duncan reigned from 1034 until he was defeated in battle by their combined armies and killed by MacBeth in August 14, 1040 near Elgin. Scotland was then ruled by Thorfinn in the northern districts and MacBeth in the southern districts. Malcolm, Duncan's eldest son, rebelled twice against MacBeth in an effort to gain the throne. His grandfather, Crinan, was slain in 1045 near Dunkeld "with nine times twenty heroes" as he led an aborted attempt to put his grandson on the throne. The second attempt was more successful as Malcolm, at the head of an English Saxon army defeated and killed MacBeth while his Norwegian allies were engaged elsewhere and Malcolm ascended the throne in 1057 as King Malcolm III Ceann Mor (Canmore).
The story by Shakespeare
Shakespeare's MacBeth starts of with the three witches who do what whitches do in the field. MacBeth en Banquo meet them and the witches prophetize MacBeth not only the thaneship of Cawdor but also the throne. And they vanish into thin air.On their way home a party of the King rides up to them and tell MacBeth he has become Thane of Cawdor, just like that. At home MacBeth tells his wife of the strange meeting and the prediction the witches made and of his Thanemaking of Cawdor. His wife, now, was a very ambitious woman and she decides to do whatever necessary to get her husband on the throne.
Not long after that the King arrives at their castle for a nightsleep and Lady MacBeth seazes her opportunity. She gets her husband to kill the king (although he objects). He takes the dagger back with him to their chamber and seems to be in a strange mood, almost as if he was not there. Lady MacBeth returns to the king's chamber to finish the job, fto put the blame on the Kings's guards. The King's two sons, who were with him, fled the castle, one to England and one to Ireland. And as the two princes having thus vacated the throne, Macbeth as next heir was crowned king, and thus the prediction of the weird sisters was literally accomplished.
Another prophecy, however, kept Lady MacBeth (now Queen MacBeth) busy: the one in which Banquo's sons are predicted to be kings after MacBeth, and not his own blood. So they decide that both Banquo as his son Fleance must die, too. This led to terrible nightmares for MacBeth and his wife, so MacBeth gets out to find the three witches and ask them what it's all about. They contact the spirits and tell him his future: the first spirit took the form of an armed head and warned him for MacDuff, the thane of Fife. The second spirit took the form of a bloody child and it said: "for none of woman born should have power to hurt you." The third spirit arrived with a tree in his hand , saying, "that he should never be vanquished, until the wood of Birnam to Dunsinane Hill should come against him".
As he left the cave he heard news that MacDuff had fled to England to team up with Malcolm, the eldest son of the late king. This raged MacBeth so much that he went to MacDuff's castle and murdered his wife and children.
Meanwhile Lady MacBeth kills herself unable to bear the remorse of guilt, and public hate. And so MacBeth was alone. Then a messenger came to tell that 'the wood of Birnam seemed to move'.
He prepares for battle, because he longs for death and wants to die in his armour and starts a fight. His men are not all faithful and some change sites even before the battle begins. At the end of the battle MacDuff walks up to MacBeth and claims his life for killing his wife and children. But MacBeth does not want to fight MacDuff and tells him about the prophecy that 'none of woman born should have power to hurt him'. MacDuff tells him he was never as the ordinary manner of men is to be born, but was untimely taken from his mother'.
As MacBeth refuses to fight, MacDuff threatens him to be showed, as men show monsters, and a painted board, on which shall be written: "Here men may see the tyrant". MacBeth, of course, prefers death and so he dies under MacDuff's sword.
The movie follow Shakespeare's storyline almost perfect. The film starts with MacBeth and Banquo, but soon after the three witches appear. Another difference is in Lady MacBeth's death: she kills herself after she has become grazy of her deeds. She keeps seeing the blood on her hands and keeps trying to wash it off at night while she sleepwalks. As far as I could see the rest of the movie followed Shakespeare by the letter.