The Theme of Kingship Is Examined in the Play of Macbeth

Topics: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Malcolm III of Scotland Pages: 3 (945 words) Published: March 16, 2013
‘The theme of kingship is examined in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth’ discuss this statement with reference & quotation.

Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth details the fall from grace of its tragic hero, as he struggles with his conscience and ambition in his quest for the throne of Scotland. Macbeth’s desire for power and King Duncan’s unpolluted goodness are displayed in an almost painful contrast. The despotism evolved from Macbeth’s ‘vaulting ambition’ is a worthy example of the human kind’s ability to let arrogance, opportunity and emotional instability become a weak man’s armour.

In Shakespeare’s time a King was considered to be god’s representative on earth. He was looked upon as equal to god. Shakespeare’s ideas towards kingship can be seen throughout the play. He shows that a king should be chosen by divine right and shows the character and attributes of what is takes to be a good king.

We first meet Duncan behind the scenes of two battles waiting anxiously for any news. From this time until his brutal murder, he is presented as a noble King of Scotland. Duncan is pictured as the perfect, impartial king in the play. Shakespeare shows Duncan to be an example to others. Duncan’s love for his country is one of his main qualities. We can see this when he eagerly seeks for any news from the captain who has returned from the front lines. When Duncan hears of Macbeth’s bravery in battle, he rewards Macbeth for his heroism by naming him the Thane of Cawdor while punishing the disloyalty of the treacherous previous Thane of Cawdor by having him hanged. Duncan also vows that his royal blessings will continue to fall on Macbeth. Here we see the king executing his power righteously by rewarding those who are loyal and punishing disloyalty.

Duncan acts responsibly in naming an heir to his throne – his son Malcolm. He did this so that the line of ascension to the throne is clear and that Scotland will remain politically stable. Duncan was trying to prevent the...
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