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Discuss how Shakespeare deals with kingship in

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Discuss how Shakespeare deals with kingship in "Macbeth" Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" is largely based upon the theme of kingship. "Macbeth" was written for James the 1st, who would have been interested in kingship and believed in the "chain of being" and the "divine right" of kings. The "chain of being" is the belief that everything is connected like a chain, and is affected by anything above it. God was believed to be at the top of the chain, and the King was believed to be the highest on earth. The "divine right" was the belief that rightful kings were put there by God, and should not be removed. Shakespeare represents these with the prosperity when Duncan is king and the unnaturalness and evil, which is present when Macbeth becomes king by evil means. This is emphasised because James the 1st traced his ancestors to Banquo, whose descendents were the rightful kings of Scotland. ...read more.


Also, in the morning, Lennox says, "the night has been unruly...Lamentings heard I'th'air, strange screams of death... Some say, the earth Was feverous and did shake". Nature itself has been disturbed, as the King is the highest thing on earth in the chain of being, so when his place is broken then everything below him is disturbed. Shakespeare reinforces the fact that kingship is given to the king by God, when Macduff says, "Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope The Lords anointed temple". Even when Macbeth is trying to excuse his murder of the kings guards, he described Duncan's body as "silver skin lac'd with his golden blood." Even Duncan's murderer gives his right to the throne credit. At the beginning of the play Macbeth is looked on in good light, due to the successful defeat of the Norwegian invaders, God is on his side. ...read more.


In contrast to this, in act five scene two Mentaith refers to Macbeth as "the tyrant". Also, in act 4 scene 3, Malcolm defines the perfect "king -becoming graces", such as "justice, verity, temp'rance, stableness, Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude". This is Shakespeare's idea of the perfect king. At the end of the play, Malcolm is restored to his rightful place as king of Scotland. The people support their king again, and they shout "Hail, king of Scotland." The country is united around their king again, not separated as they were under Macbeth. Shakespeare is trying to show that when the chain of being is intact, the country is in unity. In conclusion, Shakespeare uses the theme of kingship in Macbeth to warn people about what happens if you break the chain of being. The murder and disturbance in nature, and Macbeth's madness show that nothing good can come form killing the monarch, and the countries unity under Malcolm show that everything is peaceful and prosperous under a king that is on the throne by "divine right". ...read more.

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