Effort made to restore Macbeth's repute

Feb. 10, 2005 at 12:02 PM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A group of Scottish parliamentarians has announced it will attempt to restore Macbeth's reputation as a good king who stabilized Scotland.

The effort coincides with the 1,000th anniversary of his birth.

Alex Johnstone, one of the group's members said Wednesday Macbeth, who ruled Scotland from 1040 to 1057, had a good reputation until it was "maligned by William Shakespeare's play" written 1605-06.

He said Shakespeare rewrote history in "Macbeth" in a way that would appeal to King James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England in 1603, by picturing Macbeth as driven to dire deeds including murder by the prophesies of witches. James VI reportedly believed in witches.

"Macbeth unified the country in a time of war and promoted Christianity," Johnstone said. "He was always perceived as a good king, and we want to see him perceived that way again."

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