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How is Kingship presented in Macbeth?

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Introduction

How is Kingship presented in Macbeth? -Refer closely to the words and actions of Duncan, Malcolm and Macbeth. -Remember to include the role of Edward in England. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, we are presented with four examples of Kingship; Duncan, his son Malcolm, Edward King of England and Macbeth. Each king represents a different type of leadership, ranging from the almost God-like abilities of Edward to the wickedness and deceit of Macbeth Duncan is a very good man and a well-respected king. When Malcolm is telling his father of the Thane of Cawdor's death he says that: "very frankly he confessed his treasons, Implored your highness' pardon, and sent forth A deep repentance." (Act 1, scene 4, line 5). The Thane of Cawdor respected Duncan enough, even after betraying him, to confess his crimes and ask for forgiveness. He treats men of all kinds with respect and admiration. When Duncan meets the bleeding captain, he is concerned for his health and sends somebody to get him a doctor: "Go get him surgeons."(Act 1, Scene 2, Line 44) This shows him to care about the people who serve him, unlike Macbeth who abuses and laughs at his servants: "The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon. ...read more.

Middle

He possesses most of the qualities he deemed necessary for a king. He shows himself to be devoted to his country: "What I am truly Is thine and my poor country's to command:" (Act 4, scene 3, line 131) At the end of the play, Malcolm's speech is full of gratitude and hope for the future. He will settle his debts of honour and give titles to the thanes: "Before we reckon with your several loves And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, Henceforth be earls,..... in such an honour named". (Act 5, scene 9, line 28) He talks of starting afresh: "be planted newly with the time" (Act 5, scene 9, line 32) and restoring peace, justice, harmony, law and order to Scotland. Edward the confessor is King of England during the play. He provides another model of kingship. He is supposed to be blessed with a "heavenly gift of prophecy" that enables him to cure the sick by his touch. This power is deemed a gift from heaven: "Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand" (Act 4, scene 3, line 144) ...read more.

Conclusion

Malcolm describes Macbeth as: "bloody, Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin That has a name." (Act 4, scene 3, line 57). I think that this describes Macbeth's rule very well. He has none of the qualities of kingship mentioned by Malcolm later. Here we see him in a stark contrast to everything that is good and just. So, we see that from among the four examples of kingship, provided in Macbeth, Edward is a God-like king, ordained by God and in contrast, Macbeth is a "devilish" king, ruling as a tyrant by fear and sorrow. Duncan and Malcolm fit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Duncan was a "most sainted king" but he was human and has faults. The most major of these was his tendency to be too trusting of the people around him. Malcolm does not have this flaw and by the end of the play has gained the courage he lacked when he ran away to England. He has all the qualities of good kingship mentioned and has a belief in law and order. He has all the makings of a very good, but human king. Out of the four examples, I think that Malcolm will be the best and most effective king. ...read more.

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