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Shakespeare's views on Kingship in Macbeth.

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Shakespeare's views on Kingship in Macbeth In my coursework, I intend to compare and study the different ways in which four different Kings rule. These Kings are Duncan, Macbeth, Edward the Confessor, and Malcolm. Macbeth is a story which explores kingship and how its responsibilities can lead to treachery, betrayal and even death. The play was written in the summer of 1606 by William Shakespeare. The king at that time was James I of England and VI of Scotland. The play was thought to be written to be performed to James later on that same year. Macbeth appealed to the King because it contained two characters from whom he had supposedly gained the throne, Banquo and Fleance. Kingship at that time was insecure. In the previous year had been the gunpowder plot which planned to kill King James in his Court. A King of this period was believed to have been chosen by God to rule. This was known as the Divine Right of Kings. Shakespeare's Macbeth shows various ways in which a King can stay true to these rights but also how he can go against them and bring a country to its grave. ...read more.


In act III, Scene II Macbeth is planning to kill Banquo because he knows too much. He is in control and giving orders to the murderers unlike when he killed Duncan and he didn't know what was happening. Macbeth has gained his ambition, but he is not happy because he is insecure as King with Banquo and Fleance still alive. Macbeth tells that he would rather be in Duncan's position and away from danger than his own. When Macbeth calls on the darkness, it is as if he were calling on evil to assist him. Instead of gaining kingship through God and the Divine Right of King's, he has gained it through evil. Throughout the play, Macbeth is often associated with darkness, and darkness with the devil. Once he has committed one bad thing, he continues down that path as in the quotation: "I am so far steeped in blood, It is easier to continue than to Turn back" At the banquet, Macbeth begins by acting jovially and as a good King, but when he hallucinates and sees Banquo his manner changes and Macbeth insists, out loud, that the killing wasn't his fault. ...read more.


At the end of the play, Malcolm tells of how he intends to restore order to Scotland, plant his father's garden newly, kill the followers of Macbeth and invite back the good men who fled. He does this in an attempt to return Scotland to its former state and make it again a good, safe country. We never meet Edward in Macbeth, but hear of him throughout the play. He is a worthy King and referred to as "the most pious Edward" who has received Malcolm "with such grace". Edward gives Malcolm his soldiers to use against Macbeth to return order to Scotland. Edward is true to the Divine Right of Kings and has the healing powers of Jesus. From reading this play, I believe that Shakespeare's ideal King would be one like Edward or Malcolm. Both are God serving, just and respected. Macbeth is Shakespeare's impression of a bad king. He is unfair, overcome by evil, avaricious and not true to the Divine Right of Kings. Duncan is seen to be a good King, but he is not a good judge of character and is unaware of how people put on a false fa´┐Żade. Malcolm is thought to be so good, because he has all of his Father's good points but not his bad ones. Max Kirk ...read more.

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