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Shakespeare drew from many sources when he wrote-- the Holingshed Chronicles of England was one of these. From this source he drew much of his historical knowledge, as Holingshed was the definitive historical source of that time. The story of Macbeth comes from this source. However, Shakespeare changed several characters to meet the theatrical purpose of the play. In Holingshed’s account Macbeth is older than Duncan, but Shakespeare reverses their ages and Duncan is portrayed as the older of the two.
Shakespeare primary source for his play, Macbeth came from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, which was first published world-wide in the year 1577. The main plot and context for Shakespeare's plays came from Holinshed's recount of King Duncan and King Macbeth, their past and their present. The history of Macbeth came from this source but Shakespeare deliberately altered Macbeth's character, making him a more complex character suitable for theatrical play.
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