Kingship in Macbeth: Duncan

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Duncan is depicted as Shakespeare’s idea of a fair king that others should admire. Duncan speaks to all people with respect, when the bloodied captain brings news to Duncan in act 1 Duncan greets him by calling him a “valiant cousin” and “worthy gentleman”. As well as showing respect to his subject he also held in utmost respect, as he is frequently called great king and chants of god save the king are also frequent throughout act 1 scene 3. Even after his death people still speak highly of Duncan. Macbeth the man who killed Duncan refers to him as gracious in act 3 scene 1. Macduff also tells Malcolm that his father was “a most sainted king”, Malcolm later comments that “angels are bright still, though the brightest fell”. Duncan also proves himself to be a fair and rewarding king, after the betrayal and death of the Thane of Cawdor, Duncan rewards Macbeth for his loyalty and heroic deeds against the Norway, by awarding him the title Thane of Cawdor. Duncan acts wisely in naming an heir, his son Malcolm, so that the line of ascension to the throne is clear and that Scotland will remain politically stable and the natural order is followed. He was trying to prevent the very political chaos that resulted when Macbeth murdered him.Because of all these characteristics Shakespeare presents us with a charismatic and likeable king. Duncan is loyal to Scotland and rules with Scotland’s best interests first and his second. In contrast to Macbeth, who rules with only his interests at heart and eliminates anyone who gets in his way, because of this the period of Duncan’s rule was one of prosperity for Scotland. With all his merits Duncan did have some faults, one that is a consequence of his good nature and that is his trust, because of his good nature Duncan is too trusting of those around him a weakness that would eventually lead to his death. We can see the trouble that Duncan has in seeing people’s true intentions, when he comments that there’s “no art to find the...
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