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The King Becoming graces

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Introduction

"The King Becoming graces" D.Newsome 26/11/2001 Macbeth was written in 1605/6, by William Shakespeare. By this time, he had already established himself as one of the countries leading playwrights. Shakespeare was known for his series of historical plays, looking at the Kings from Richard II to Richard III. He had already written Hamlet, another play about the problems that arise in the wake of a king's murder. Macbeth was written to be performed in front of King James VI of Scotland, I of England, who claimed descent from Banquo. In act IV, scene iii, Malcolm describes what he calls "The King-becoming Graces" these are, "As Justice, verity, temperance, stableness, bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, devotion, patience, courage, fortitude." At the time, Malcolm is trying to test Macduff, to see if Scotland wants him to return because of his good qualities, or just to get rid of Macbeth. Malcolm says that these are all the qualities needed by a king, but that he has none of them. This is just a test, and when Macduff makes his speech (IV, iii, 103-114) "No, not to live...Thy hope ends here!" saying how Malcolm will not do as a leader, Malcolm in fact reveals that he was testing Macduff, and that he is ready to be king, and has assembled an army to go and overthrow Macbeth. ...read more.

Middle

At this same time, before the prophecy, we see Macbeth is a good servant, as when Duncan says he wants to make him the Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth replies "The service and the loyalty I owe, in doing it, pays itself." (I, iv, 23-4). By saying this, Macbeth is being modest, and is praising Duncan. This shows good qualities, and that at this point in the play Macbeth is still a loyal servant of the crown. The only one of the graces that Macbeth possesses constantly is courage. We are shown this at the start of the play, when he "Like valour's minion carved out his passage" and again, just before his death at the end of the play with "I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet". This shows a final act of courage, and defiance. The third, and final king in the play is Malcolm. We know his line was not strong, as Banquos' line soon takes over, as King James is descended from him, and he sat on the throne at the time Shakespeare wrote this play. We know Malcolm is a clever man, as he was wise to flee Scotland after the murder of his father, for his self-preservation, and the intent of returning with an army. ...read more.

Conclusion

He had come up with a scientific method, and had produced the blueprint of the perfect tragedy. This was that there had to be a noble character that falls from grace, as a result of a flaw in his/her character. The tragedy was also said to have a heightened dramatic affect if it takes place all in one location, and over a period of 24 hours. There should only be one plot. That was the scientific theory as to what a perfect tragedy should contain, according to Aristotle. He came up with this theory by analysing, and observing the Greek tragedies that were the most popular. Macbeth does not conform to this theory, as Shakespeare was trying to show that you could write a successful, and entertaining tragedy by not complying with Aristotle's strict guidelines, but by takin a basic tragic story, and turning it into a literary mater piece, using poetry, and the beauty and power of language. In conclusion, I would say that Macbeth, the play, does support the quote "The king-becoming graces, as justice, verity, temperance, stableness, bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, devotion, patience, courage, fortitude." This is when looked at as to what message Shakespeare was trying to get across, and how the play is relevant to the nature of kingship, and the historical, and social influences at the time. 2 ...read more.

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