William Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers of all time. He wrote some of the most iconic plots, made up well-used words, and brought interesting characters to life. What we don’t realize sometimes, however, is that many of his plays are works of historical fiction. Shakespeare would occasionally take a famous person from history and enhance his or her life story.
On this day in history in 1040, Duncan, the young king of Scotland who had led his troops into battle to expand his kingdom, was killed. Unfortunately, it was by some of his own men, who were led by one of his dukes, a man called Macbeth.
The king wasn’t elderly, and he wasn’t killed in his sleep, and there was is no historical evidence that Macbeth’s wife had any influence on her husband in his decision to defy his king. Shakespeare’s version of events is definitely more interesting.
On this day in history in 1057, the Battle of Lumphanan was won by Duncan’s son, Malcolm III. So seventeen years after his victory and ascension to the throne, Macbeth was killed by Duncan’s son, the one it truly belonged to.
“Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,