Sunday, June 17, 2007

Macbeth: Who Wrote It?

This weekend I was away on vacation and I read something about Macbeth being attributed to Thomas Middleton instead of Shakespeare. I know about many of the plays in questionable authorship, but I didn't know that Macbeth was one of them.

When I got home and caught up on my newsfeeds I found another article suggesting that Shakespeare stole Macbeth from a Scottish monk named Andrew de Wyntoun.  The standard article follows, some historians show examples where the original looks similar to what Shakespeare wrote, and then a Shakespeare scholar presents the standard defense:  "Yes, we know that Shakespeare borrowed things, he admitted it freely. The point is that when he rewrote it, his version was much better than the original."


Alan K.Farrar said...

Middleton certainly (well, maybe) 'revised' the play for a latter performance - usually the bad witches scenes are attributed to him (as if Shakey couldn't write a bad line).
People forget the 'collaborative nature of playwriting - especially in Elizabethan England.
Also the borrowing wasn't borrowing - you HAD to use other people's material - you were taught to do it in school - and beaten well and truly if you were so presumptuous as to do anything truly original!

Anonymous said...

how do u know that shakespear origonaly wrote the stories