Shakespeare’s Macbeth is set in a time and place where the ideas of the ‘Chain of Being’ and the ‘Divine Right of the King’ are highly regarded and held to be true. The play incorporates both these ideas and uses them to depict two models of kingship that either hold fast to these concepts or deviate from them. This can be seen in how the throne of Scotland first falls from Duncan, the true king of Scotland at the beginning of the play, to Macbeth, who usurps the throne by killing Duncan, and then to Malcolm, the true heir to the throne who takes it from Macbeth at the conclusion of the play. It is the aim of this essay to compare these different models of kingship, show how they are represented through the characters of Duncan, Macbeth and Malcolm, as well as to show what the play suggests about the qualities that are necessary for a good king.
I, Malcolm, new king of Scotland, face the toughest task of them all. After the horrors the king before me has done, it is up to me to civilize this kingdom. First, I will have to regain the trust of all my people. I must show them I’m here for the good, and its time for a change. I understand that it won’t be easy. If I were a townsperson, I would not trust a king after what has been done. I must take over for my father, a victim of Macbeth, and continue the family reign as king.
The motivations of Duncan, Macbeth, and Malcolm are all different. Macbeth is motivated by greed, power, ambition, and his wife. Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth’s manhood and calls him a coward. In contrast, Malcolm and Duncan want what is right for the people and for Scotland. They want everything to be just and they are noble men. For example, “Macduff, this noble passion, / Child of integrity, hath from my soul / Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts / To thy good truth and honor” (Shakespeare IV.iii.116-119). This proves that Malcolm cares about loyalty among his people. Malcolm's motivations for Scotland are honorable. He wants to restore peace and trust in Scotland. Also, Malcolm wants to be a good leader and restore the heir to its rightful owner. This shows that Macbeth, Duncan, and Malcolm all have different motivations.
In Act 1 scene 4 page 11, Macbeth said, “Prince of Cumberland! That a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap.” This explains how he must become better than Malcolm because he was jealous of his new position as Prince of Cumberland.
He may even be compared to that of a tyrant. At one point, he is approached by three apparitions who give him a sample of his future. They encourage him to continue causing such chaos in Scotland by confusing him into thinking he has a lot more power than he does. Although, one of the apparitions, particularly the second one, truly seems to get into Macbeth’s head. The fate which it gives Macbeth is, “Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn /The power of man, for none of woman born /Shall harm Macbeth.” (4.1.90-92). This is saying how no one born of a woman shall harm Macbeth. In other words, Macbeth interprets it as no one at all can harm him. Having this knowledge, he begins to feel more power since he believes no one can hurt him. It also diminishes his sense of fear, believing that anything he does couldn’t impact his personal self. Macbeth then decides to go off on his own to create more tragedies, impacting everyone in Scotland. They now see how Macbeth is a terrible person, and even seek to get revenge. At one point, Malcolm talks to Macduff about the havoc Macbeth has created. He says to Macduff, “Be comforted. Let’s make us med'cines of our great revenge, To cure this deadly grief.” (4.3.252-254). Malcolm is saying that he would like to get revenge on Macbeth since he turned out to be such a horrible king. His actions created many hardships
I,Malcolm, let Macbeth do anything to be king. While I watch him ruin his legacy.Macbeth proves his loyalty to Duncan by serving him. Macbeth states, " the service and the loyalty I owe in doing it pays itself(I.iv.25) To avoid being taken advantage of, Macbeth must demonstrate that he is not weak. He fulfills this by taking the cowardly way out and murdering Duncan King of Scotland. He acts out because he is jealous and feels as if he deserves to be king. At this point once Macbeth displays that he is no longer loyal to his once King of Scotland, who said " for brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name"(I.ii.95). A disloyal Macbeth cannot accept the promotion to thane of Cawdor, so he get greedy and does the unthinkable. Macbeth says, "Let not light see my black and deep desires: the eye wink at the hand yet let that be which the eye fears, when it is done to see"(I.ii.50-53). These words reveal Macbeth's deep desire to be king, after King Duncan announces that his son Malcolm will be the one to take the throne after him.
He murdered Macduff's family, and that made him determined to kill Macbeth and take back the throne. Macbeth goes all the way to England so he can get Malcolm and his army to take back the throne. That sounds pretty determined. Macduff goes to kill Macbeth with an army so he can give the throne back to Malcolm. After Macduff kills Macbeth, he cuts his head off. Gross, I know. He carries it to prove that he killed the beast named Macbeth. He was determined to show the world that they no longer had to live in fear. Macduff, the Witches, and Macbeth did some bad things for there own
Malcolm had joined the Nation of Islam and became their spokesman and went to the streets for black converts. His only concern was to change the condition of his people who were victimized by social injustice and
After Malcolm is appointed Prince of Cumberland, Macbeth starts having more horrific thoughts. WE can see a darker side of Macbeth come out when he says, “Malcolm is now the prince of Cumberland! To become king myself, I’m either going to have to step over him or give up, because he’s in my way. Stars, hide your light so no one can see the terrible desires within me. I won’t let my eye look at what my hand is doing, but in the end I’m still going to do that thing I’d be horrified to see (Macbeth 29, 50-56)”. Once again, we see Macbeth rushing his prophecy for his own will. The witches never said anything about getting rid of anybody, they didn’t even tell Macbeth to do anything!, but all he has to do is sit back and let fate guide him to where he will end up. Macbeth’s urgency to be king is his own fault and he should be held accountable for his downfall because of
Malcolm is the son of king Duncan. When Macbeth murdered king Duncan, it is only natural the Malcolm should take the throne of Scotland. Malcolm is aware that something is happening. He goes on to suspect Macbeths part in his father’s death. Macduff and Malcolm teamed up to defeat Macbeth. Malcolm joins Macduff’s forces so as to revenge his father’s death.
To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks. Malcolm X wanted African-Americans use violence against whites instead of a passive method. Malcolm X advocated African-American pride and rose to become a human rights activist. Malcolm X was a man who indicted White Americans in the worse terms for its crimes against African-Americans. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. By March 1964, Malcolm X had grown to be the most disillusioned with the Nation of Islam.
On the surface, most readers would conclude that the hero in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, is Malcom. Malcom receives recognition as the successor to Macbeth’s bloody tyranny in the conclusion of the play. However, Macduff is truly deserving of the role of hero. Genuinely concerned for Scotland, Macduff abandons his family to travel to England and recruit an army to end the disastrous reign of Macbeth. Macduff begins his vendetta against Macbeth before he has any personal incentive to kill Macbeth; he solely wants to restore Scotland to peace. In an attempt to determine Macduff’s true colors, Malcolm claims to have vices that would prevent him from being a good king. Instead of seizing the opportunity to become heir to the throne like Macbeth had done, Macduff is honest
Malcolm is a big influence on Macbeth’s play. As a result of the death of Macbeth, he was able to recuperate the throne, which once belonged to his family.
In Macbeth, an idea that is persistently insinuated is the exploitation of power to likely represent how power can corrupt individuals. Shakespeare uses Malcolm, prince of Scotland, in Macbeth to contradict Macbeth and to prove the idea that power leads to corruption. Malcolm is one of the characters often neglected as he disappears during the middle acts of the play. His character goes under a major change during his departure from Scotland, which makes him crucial to the plot. As a dynamic character, Malcolm manages to change from his careless state to a more noble persona, while serving as a foil to Macbeth through his corruption of power.
Throughout the play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, there is a constant theme of questioning what quantifies a good leader and what qualifies someone to lead. These questions, however, are more easily posed than answered because they change immensely depending upon the individual responding. Some follow the school of thought that a king should be selected based on divine inheritance while others focus more holistically on a king who possesses good qualities that would make them a worthy ruler. In Macbeth there are not many examples of decent leadership that the reader can clearly grasp due to the political instability of the setting of the play: Scotland. King Duncan, while presented in a more favorable light than Macbeth, was no angelic being or exemplary ruler. On the other side of the sword, however, King Macbeth was presented as a bloody tyrant hell-bent on putting his wishes above the desires and needs of the people of Scotland. When presented with the few rulers that are shown throughout the play, King Duncan was a better ruler with his mild temperament and placement of his country above self. While choosing what quantifies a respectable king is arduous, it is simple to see that Macbeth was not a good ruler. In fact, he was quite the opposite. Thus, based on contradicting Macbeth’s faults, a good ruler is the physical embodiment of God, maintains command over the nobles, and favors the interest of the country over their own.