Exploration of Shakespeare's Views on Kingship Through Macbeth

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Exploration of Shakespeare's Views on Kingship Through Macbeth
Works Cited Not Included Macbeth was written by William Shakespeare in around 1606 and is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy. He wrote Macbeth whilst James I was on the throne. James believed strongly in divine right. This may have helped Shakespeare's views on kingship. In Macbeth there are four kings: Edward of England; Duncan; Malcolm and Macbeth. Of these four only Macbeth did not rule by divine right as he murdered the previous king so as to gain the throne. Also of these four only Macbeth can be described as a
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He later betrays his country by swapping sides in battle. Duncan also has the disadvantage of being quite old. He is too weak to lead his army into war and has to rely on the Thanes. He doesn't give his plans a lot of thought. Duncan approves of violence and in Macbeth's case, rewards it.

The other characters in Macbeth greatly respect Duncan. Even Macbeth talks highly of Duncan both before and after Duncan's death. People know that Duncan is a 'great king' and hence he is treated with utmost respect. In Act 1 Scene 2 Ross says, 'god save the king'. I believe that Duncan is also liked because when he speaks to people he speaks with dignity and respect for them and he is not patronizing. A good example of this can be found in Act 1 Scene 2 line 24 when says to the sergeant, "O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!". It is must be remembered however that at that time people believed in the divine right of king. The king was seen to be God's representative on earth and therefore the king was almost sacred in people's eyes. Macduff in Act 4 Scene 3 line 109 refers to Duncan as "a most sainted king". Even Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 6 respects Duncan by saying to him, "at your highnesses pleasure".

Overall I believe that Shakespeare wants to portray Duncan as a good king. He bestows on Duncan the virtues of being gracious, open,
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