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Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Duncan's character in Macbeth

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Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Duncan's character in Macbeth In this essay, I will be exploring Shakespeare's presentation of Duncan's character in 'Macbeth'. 'Macbeth', a play written by William Shakespeare in 1605, when James I took the throne of England after the death of Elizabeth Tudor in 1603. At that time, kings were regarded as the person who was closest to God on earth and they believed in the Divine Right of kings. Duncan is presented as a kind and good man. He is an extremely trustworthy king of his fellow men. He trusts his men with his life, his throne, and most highly, his kingdom. He is a king who can inspire jealousy as well as having tremendous power "The service and loyalty...throne and state, children and servants, which do but what they should by doing everything safe towards your love and honour" Duncan was joyous at Scotland's victory against Norway; Duncan chooses to celebrate with his two great generals: Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth, who was an ambitious man, unbeknown to Duncan, he has already expressed his desire to be king after hearing the witches' prophecy. This is dramatic irony; he does not know what Macbeth is thinking. Duncan chooses to celebrate the victory at Macbeth's castle in Inverness. This is also dramatic irony, since Macbeth is already planning his murder "For in my way it lies. ...read more.


He loves Macbeths castle and uses lyrical language to describe it "This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself into our gentle senses". Again Shakespeare uses dramatic irony because Duncan will die here which meant that he was walking into a trap. Irony continues when Duncan and Banquo speak elegantly about birds breeding and the delicate air "Guest of summer, heavens breath." Duncan praises Lady Macbeth and also honours here since she welcomed them, even though Lady Macbeth is a hypocrite. She also plots Duncan's death therefore it increases the irony. Macbeth speaks in a soliloquy his inner thoughts about Duncan. He knows that if he kills the king, he will be going to hell and that whatever he does will return back to haunt him. One meaning is that if he murders the king, someone will murder him "Bloody instructions, which being taught return to plague th' inventor. This even-handed justice commends th' ingredience of our poisoned chalice to our own lips." Macbeth knows that Duncan is his cousin and also his king. He knows that he should be protecting Duncan in his own castle "First, I am his kinsmen and his subject, strong both against the deed." He realises that Duncan is a good man "meek". Shakespeare makes us; the audience explore Macbeth's conscience even though he is a murderer. ...read more.


"His silver skin laced with his golden blood, and his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature". He knows how precious and holy Duncan was and that he was vital to Scotland. Just like 'God' by using precious metal imagery but as we all know, it was Macbeth who killed the king and that hen reason why he killed the guards was because he wants to get rid of the evidence. Macbeth is also telling the truth "Had I but died an hour before this chance I had lived a blessed time". This means that Macbeth is equivocating. He tells the truth and also lies at the same time. He does love the king but he also wants to be king. Macbeth knows now that life has no meaning "All is but toys, renown and grace is dead, the wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees is left this vault to brag of". He knows that he is damned forever. Shakespeare will develop this theme of conscience in the rest of the play. Duncan is seen as a kind and respectable king. All his subjects trust him as well as him trusting them. He causes Macbeth to be jealous because he had tremendous power. Shakespeare uses language and stagecraft to make his character both clear and interesting. The audience can see that Duncan represents greatness and realise Macbeth will be unable to live up to this. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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