Saturday, 26 September 2015

'Man, myth, legend...’To high Dunsinane Hill’ the Macbeth tourists shall come!' @C_MAlexander

'Man, myth, legend...’To high Dunsinane Hill’ the Macbeth tourists shall come!': Michael Alexander in The Courier (Perth & Kinross):

"If trees could talk, then the gnarled and ancient Birnam Oak which rests wearily on crutches on the south bank of the River Tay at Birnam would surely have some amazing tales to tell.

Whilst not nearly as old as the legendary 5000-year-old Fortingall Yew, further north in Highland Perthshire, the Birnam Oak, complete with its three metres of hollow trunk, is thought to be one of the sole surviving trees of the great Royal Forest that once straddled the banks and hillsides of the River Tay.

[photo from Courier]
History records that the Royal Forest, which includes Birnam Hill, was gifted in 1160 by Malcolm, the Maiden, to Duncan, Earl of Fife, on his marriage with Princess Ada, the King’s niece. This Duncan was a descendant of that MacDuff who accompanied Malcolm Canmohr on his march to oust the real Macbeth in 1054. Macbeth was finally defeated and killed in a battle at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire on August 15, 1057.

But it was Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a blend of fact and fiction written over 400 years ago, which gave rise to the notoriety of the famous Birnam Wood, alongside Perthshire’s Dunsinane Hill, near the village of Collace.

The places were immortalised by Shakespeare when he wrote:””Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.”
The prophecy of Shakespeare’s three witches did come true, with the branches of trees from great Birnam Wood, camouflaging the advancing army against Macbeth.

The Bard also gave his lead character the title of ‘Thane of Glamis’, which lies in Angus whilst Scone Moot Hill is where Macbeth was crowned.

It is believed that Shakespeare got inspiration for this section of 'The Scottish Play` during a visit to Perth, Birnam and Aberdeen in 1599 as one of a troupe of comedians. ..."

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