MACBETH -KINGSHIP :
Kingship, with its potential for good or evil, is a major theme in Macbeth. •
the King was regarded as God's direct representative on Earth •
An offence against the King was considered an offence against God. The King embodied the moral and social welfare of his subjects. In the play, the exercise of regal power, whether with potential for good or evil, is so significant a theme that Shakespeare prevents four versions of it. •
Firstly the ideal kingship of Duncan, whose murder constitutes the perversion of this ideal and causes disorder in nature. This is followed by the tyrannical reign of the usurper Macbeth. King Edward has supreme regal power and his reign represents the opposite to Macbeth's reign of terror. While Macbeth's reign highlights the capacity for evil latent in kingship, Edward's represents the capacity for absolute goodness. Finally, speculation remains as to Malcom's potential as future King of Scotland. Such was the Godlike power that the King exerted over his subjects, the path was left open for the triumph of good or evil. •
"Gracious Duncan" is an example of a worthy King. From his introduction to his death, Duncan appears to have been the ideal King. Duncan is the epitome of graciousness and temperance. He is admired by his subjects for his justice, gratitude and generosity. He is generous in his praise of those whom he feels have served him well, in particular Macbeth, "O worthiest cousin/ More is thy due than more all can pay." Duncan's benign guidance is rewarded by the loyal support of his people. However, Duncan is not entirely without fault. While his strengths as a King lie in his mild-tempered nature and generous character, his weakness is displayed in his overly-trusting nature. He is too trusting to notice the corruption in a treacherous subordinate, "He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust," and of this naiveté the Thane of Cawdor took full advantage. Duncan himself declares "There's no art...
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