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Macbeth

(Shakespeare). The story is taken from Holinshed, who copied it from the History of Scotland, by Hector Boece or Boyce, in seventeen volumes (1527). The history, written in Latin, was translated by John Bellenden (1531-1535).

“History states that Macbeth slew Duncan at Bothgowan, near Elgin, in 1039, and not as Shakespeare says, at his castle of Inverness: the attack was made because Duncan had usurped the throne, to which Macbeth had the better claim. As a king Macbeth proved a very just and equitable prince, but the partisans of Malcolm got head, and succeeded in deposing Macbeth, who was slain in 1056, at Lumphanan. He was thane of Cromarty [Glamis], and afterwards of Moray [Cawdor].” —Lardner: Cabinet Cyclopoedia

Lady Macbeth. The wife of Macbeth. Ambition is her sin, and to gain the object of her ambition she hesitates at nothing. Her masterful mind sways the weaker Macbeth to “the mood of what she liked or loathed.” She is a Mede'a, or Catherine de' Medici, or Cæsar Borgia in female form. (Shakespeare Macbeth.) The real name of Lady Macbeth was Graoch, and instead of being urged to the murder of Duncan through ambition, she was goaded by deadly injuries. She was, in fact, the granddaughter of Kenneth IV., killed in 1003, fighting against Malcolm II. —Lardner: Cabinet Cyclopoedia, vol. i. 17, etc.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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