Top-Rated Free Essay

What Sort of a King Was Duncan?

Topics: Macbeth / Pages: 2 (481 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
We were not told an awful lot about Duncan in Shakespeare's Macbeth. He had very few lines, and appeared on only a few occasions. Despite this, I was able to gather a fair idea of Duncan's character, through the interpretation of messages hidden within the text.<br><br>Duncan was a kind and good man. There are several segments of the play that show this; as I have demonstrated below.<br><br>Duncan is an extremely trustworthy King of his fellow men. He trusts his men with his life, his children, his throne, and most highly, his kingdom. He has no other choice but to trust these men. <br><br>"The service and loyalty… throne and state, children and servants, Which do but what they should by doing everything Safe toward your love and honour…"<br>Macbeth [I.iv.22-27]<br><br>We see how he surpasses a blind eye to the people who serve him. He cannot judge them in anyway, for he thinks of them as pure and good as himself. He also thought that Macbeth is a true man to him. Later on, we see how his judgment has not served him well.<br><br>"…He was a gentleman on whom I built An absolute trust…" [I.iii.14-15]<br><br>Duncan regards his fellow men rather highly. He often praises their work and service to himself and his kingdom:<br><br>(1) "Welcome hither. I have begun to plant thee, and will labour To make thee full of growing. -Noble Banquo, That hast no less deserved, nor must be known No less to have done so, Let me infold thee, And hold thee to my heart." [I.iv.27-32]<br>(2) "My worthy Cawdor" [To Macbeth I.iv.49]<br>(3) "True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant, And his commendations I am fed: It is a banquet to me. Let's after him, Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome. It is a peerless kinsman.<br>(4) "Give me your hand; Conduct me to mine host. We love him highly, And shall continue our graces towards him…" [Talking about Macbeth I.iiv.28-30]<br>(5) "…How you shall bid God ‘ield us for your pains, And thank us for your trouble…" [I.vii.13-14]<br><br>Duncan represents the purest of all beings. Shakespeare uses Duncan, to demonstrate the operation of good and Godliness in the world. I believe that Shakespeare uses the character of Duncan to make a contrast with Macbeth. While Macbeth is a traitor, Duncan is honest, humble and good. He shows he has a generous nature by praising Macbeth so warmly and by giving Lady Macbeth the present of a diamond. Popular with his subjects, he ruled fairly and wisely. By murdering him, Shakespeare tells us, Macbeth murdered an ideal King.

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