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David Garrick as Macbeth

David Garrick as Macbeth

David Garrick's portrayal of Macbeth was hugely acclaimed, particularly the scene pictured here where he enters holding the bloody daggers, having murdered the innocent King Duncan.

While Shakespeare's plays were extremely popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, extensive adaptation and rewriting was deemed necessary. Garrick's versions of the plays were closer to the originals than most, but even so, there were changes. In Shakespeare's version Macbeth dies off-stage, but Garrick, who was famous for his death throes, wrote himself a dying speech in order to display them. It was standard for performers in the 18th century to wear fashionable modern clothes rather than period costumes. This picture of Garrick shows Macbeth in contemporary dress (an 18th century military uniform).

Link to the information source: Victoria and Albert Museum - http://www.vam.ac.uk/users/node/8521

Image Source: Circulating Collection, Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia. Subject: "Macbeth"  -- Shakespeare. (Reproduction)

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