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Kingship in Macbeth

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Introduction

Robin Spacie Kingship Shakespeare explores the issues connected with kingship during Macbeth, mostly in IV:3 where Malcolm describes the properties of a good King. The comparisons between Macbeth, the untitled tyrant, and Duncan, a most sainted King are clear. Until the Victorian era, the reigning monarch had complete control over the country. The monarch was capable of uniting the country or creating unrest and chaos. England was very unstable following Henry VIII rule until Elizabeth. Elizabeth had a very strong personality and managed to unite the country. However, she had no heir and named James I (James VII of Scotland) as her heir. The comparison between Macbeth and Duncan is made in Macbeth as a political point, as well as being a dramatic device. ...read more.

Middle

Duncan is very honest, a quality which can also be seen in I:4. Duncan says of the first Thane of Cawdor He was a gentleman on whom I built An absolute trust. (I:4 13-14) A weak King, such as Macbeth, would not have admitted to being so trusting. Macbeth distrusts people to such an extent that he has spies in their houses and constantly lies and equivocates, even to his best friend (and second victim) Banquo. [Of the witches] I think not of them (II:1 22) Duncan is a stable and controlled King. He is very dignified and regal, doing everything as it should be done and never lashing out or wanting revenge, even against the Thane of Cawdor who was a traitor. Macbeth too is dignified and radiates self-control whilst he is a Thane. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst some may consider Duncan too merciful for his own good, he is far better than Macbeth who even kills a defenceless child. Macbeth is very ambitious and perseveres to achieve his goal although the way that he does this is terrible killing women, children and many other murders that are only hinted at. Organic imagery is used throughout the play to emphasize how Scotland will develop and flourish under a good King but will be hewn down by a bad King. Where as Duncan is a natural King, the robes dwarf Macbeth. This is something that Banquo hints at unknowing of Macbeth's intentions in I:3. ...strange garments, cleave not to their mould. (I:3 145) Duncan is remembered with love, honour and respect but Macbeth is remembered as a bloody butcher at the end of the play with a fiend-like Queen. Time: 40mins ...read more.

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