Analyse the theme of Kingship in Macbeth.
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Analyse the theme of Kingship in Macbeth Tom Griffin While composing this work, Shakespeare was aware that its content would have to satisfy the newly crowned king, James 1. Therefore the play includes many scenes and characters with the king in mind. Most obvious being the theme of kingship and what makes a good king. He involves the idea of Divine Right and the Chain of Being to help the story in it's ideas. As the play commences, the two Scottish Generals. Macbeth and Banquo, have recently crushed a rebellion led by the treacherous Thane of Cawdor and restrained order to the court of King Duncan. Duncan is presented as a noble king who is loved throughout the country. This is apparent as the Sergant tells of how Macbeth and Banquo endeavoured to aid the king "they have as cannons overcharg'd with double cracks." King Duncan also shows his gratitude as he calls Macbeth "O valiant cousin! Worthy gentlemen" and refers to him as being "noble." This is important because this is a quality normally reserved for kings. The king immediately appoints Macbeth as the Thane of Cawdor and states "more is thy due than more than all can play."
He received it through "the divine Right of Kings" which indicates that Duncan is God's servant on Earth. The coronation of a king involves "anointing" which is a direct parallel to the sacraments, hence sealing the bond between God and ruler. Another King in the play is Edward the Confessor of England. He like Duncan was the chosen ruler of his country, a righteous king. The divine help also bestows him with the power to heal the "kings evil." This is contrasted in a way with Macbeth "destroying" power" as people flock to Edward as they flee from Macbeth. When the evil Macbeth murders Duncan it is an unholy and unnatural act, "most sacreligous murder hath broke ope the Lord's anointed temple." Macduff says this after he has just murdered Duncan. This act isolates Macbeth from God as he gives up the immortal gift from the divine, his soul. It is commonly known that the king and his kingdom are one, therefore what affects one, must affect the other. By the unnatural death of Duncan, Macbeth's reign of Scotland was laid in turmoil.
At the banquet, Banquo's ghost appears which makes Macbeth uneasy, "avant and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee." The banquet is a microcosim of Scotland as a whole, the banquet is going into chaos so is Scotland due to Macbeth being the ruler. Macbeth is seen as a disease, which is slowly destroying Scotland. Finally Macbeth is over-thrown and Duncan's son Malcom is rightfully crowned king. This represents a return to the "Divine right of the Kings" as Malcom was meant to be the next king after his father Duncan. Although Malcom is a minor character in the play, he is undoubtedly the greatest king, because he restores the calm and beauty after Macbeth who had caused so much trouble. in the play, "great things will happen." He has inherited all of his father's "saintly" characteristics. Malcolm realises that the king is in place to serve the country, not the other way around. Malcom can be described as being the "medicine" in the play, as he is a mixture of both Duncan and Edward, but also he has two other qualities, youth and prudence. With these he will cure Scotland of the "disease" which is Macbeth.
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