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First printed in the folio of 1623.—Dr. Simon Forman in his Mx. Diary (.Mus
. Ashmol. Oxon.) has given an elaborate account of this tragedy, which he saw " at the Globe, 1610, the 20th of April, Saturday." Malone thinks that it was originally performed in 1606, because in act ii. sc. 1, the Porter says, “ Here's a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty," and “ here's an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale ; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven,"—the former passage, he conceives, alluding to the state of the corn-market in 1606, the latter to Garnet's avowed equivocation and grozs perjury at his trial (for the Gunpowder Treason) on March 28th of that year. See Life of Shakespeare, p. 407 sqq.
Mr. Collier believes that Macbeth was not a new play when Forman saw it acted, because “ the
some I see That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry,' would have had little point, if we suppose them to have been delivered after the king who bore the balls and sceptres had been more than seven years on the throne. James was proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland on the 24th of October 1604 ; and we may perhaps conclude that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in the year 1605, and that it was first acted at the Globe, when it was opened for the summer season, in the spring of 1606." Introd. to Macbeth.– Farmer conjectures, very improbably, that the tragedy might have been suggested to Shakespeare by an interlude which was played at Oxford before King James in 1605: see the notes appended to Macbeth in the Variorum Shakespeare.—Holinshed, it is plain, furnished all the materials for Macbeth.
DUNCAN, king of Scotland.
} generals of the King's army.
noblemen of Scotland.
Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murderers, Attendants, and Messengers.
play in Scotland.