Shakespeare borrowed the ideas of violence, structure and supernatural elements of "Macbeth" from the Roman dramatist Seneca. How?
MacBeth would have been very familiar with the plays and methods of Seneca.
1. MacBeth, like most of Seneca's plays, is divided into five acts.
2. In Seneca's dramas the tragic heroes develop courage and dignity when they face death. MacBeth develops courage in the face of his impending doom, but not at all for the right reasons.His is due to "O'er vaulting ambition"not a sense of dignity and just purpose.3. Seneca's plays taught stoicism. After Lady MacBeth hurls herself to her death, MacBeth seems overtly stoic (though his thoughts are nihilistic):
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. 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
Signifying nothing. (5.5.17-28)