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PERSONS REPRESENTED IN THE PLAY.
Son to Macduff.
DUNCAN, King of Scotland.
Generals of the King's Army.
Noblemen of Scotland.
Macbeth, the son of Sinel, obtained the utmost those shall be born, which shall govern the Scotaffection and confidence of Duncan, king of Scot- tish kingdom by long order of continual descent. » land, having, by his personal valour, been cbiefly These women then immediately vanished from their instrumental in overcoming the insurgents headed sight. Shortly afterwards a messenger arrived, inby Macdonwald and assisted by the Norwegians, forming Macbeth of the death of his father, and his whose daring incursions had greatly increased dur- thus becoming Thane of Glamis; a second messening this monarch's mild reign. After a complete vic- ger came also to impart to him, that the king, as tory gained over Sweno, king of Norway, Macbeth an earnest of still greater honour, had named him and Banquo unattended, journeying towards Fores, Thane of Cawdor. These proofs of the prescience at which place lay Duncan's camp, were, accord- of the weird sisters, then gave birth to Macbeth's ing to Holinshed's Chronicle, suddenly met on a «vaulting, ambition, » and soon was beheld the sad heath by « Three women in strange and wild ap- transition of the hero to the villain ; for, stimulated parel, resembling creatures of elder world. » These by his wife, who, in the same Chronicle, is boldly hailed Macbeth Thane of Glamis and of Cawdor, and described as, « A woman very ambitious, burning also King of Scotland. Questioned by Banquo, whe- in unquenchable desire to bear the name of Queen,» ther promising so much to his companion, they Macbeth compassed Duncan's death; and seizing greeted him with nothing ? «Yes, said the first of the opportunity offered by the Monarch's becoming them, we promise greater benefits unto thee, than their guest at Inverness Castle, he murdered him, unto him; for he shall reign in deed, but with an during his sleep, and thus became possessed of the unluckly end : neither shall he leave any issue be- crown. One crime ever leads to others. Macbeth hind him, to succeed in his place; where contrarily, had not forgotten what the weird women had prothou in deed shalt not reign at all, but of thee / mised to his former companion in arms : wishing
therefore to thwart that prediction, he caused After desperate exertions of valour, he met MacBanquo and his son to be waylaid by assassins, who, duff, whom he had wished to avoid , having, among though, they killed the father, missed the youth. bis many victims slain that Thane's wife and chilNumerous other murders, necessary to the Tyrant's dren, and still believing himself to bear « a charmed security, followed. But, in the mean time, Malcolm, life, » he was now unwilling to charge his soul with Duncan's eldest son, having fled to England, where, more blood of that race. Then, only, he learnt that says Holinshed, « he purchased such favour at King Macduff « was never born of his mother, but ripped Edward's hands, that old Siward, Earl of Northum- out of her womb », and, too late, he fully perceived berland, was appointed with ten thousand men to the treacherous meaning of those juggling fiends, go with him into Scotland, to support him in bis
«That palter with us in a double sense ; enterprise, for the recovery of his right. » Closely That keep the word of promise to our ear, pursued by his foes, but still confiding in a prophecy, And break it to our hope.» that he should never be vanquished till Birnam
Thus, after a reign of seventeen years, a just, wood removed to Dunsinane, a distance of some though long withheld, retribution, overwhelmed miles ; nor yet be slain by. any man of woman born, the guilty usurper, who was slain by Macduff. By Macbeth withdrew into Dunsinane Castle, there, the Tyrant's death, Malcolm recovered his own determined to wear out the patience of the besiegers: rights, and was hailed King, on the field of battle. Malcolm however came up to him quickly, and
There can be no doubt, that Holinshed's Chronicle to disguise the number of his forces, ordered his
was the source, whence Shakspeare took the histosoldiers, each, to carry before him the branch of a tree. When Macbeth was informed of the strange following eight Etchings, from original Designs, form
rical part of the truly sublime Drama, to which the appearance presented by the moving forest, he illustrations : it is confidently hoped that these will began
not be found unworthy the masterly production of «To doubt the equivocation of the fiend,
That lies like truth.»