Macbeth - Kingship Essay

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With detailed reference to the characters of Macbeth, Duncan, Malcolm and Edward in the play ‘Macbeth’, analyse William Shakespeare’s ideas and attributes towards kingship and assess what you think the audiences reaction to the play would be at the time.

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 attributes of what a good king should be.

The play ‘Macbeth’ is set in medieval Scotland at the fictional time of King Duncan. Scotland is currently at war with the Norwegians when news of their victory comes through, with thanks to the two leaders of the army Macbeth and Banquo. On their travel home Macbeth and Banquo stumble upon some old hags, and
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Because Banquo knew the prophecy of the witches, he ordered his death in case he thought that he might have killed Duncan, act3 sc1 Line start – 10 Banquo says he has all three as the witches predicted. Under his reign of tyranny, he kills and slaughters. A dominant feature about the play is that when there is a bad king, the country as well suffers, and many characters talk of how Scotland is suffering act4 sc3 L168-169 ‘Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rent the air, are made, not marked’. Act4 sc3 L40-41 Malcolm says, ‘it weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash is added to her wounds.’ In the same scene Macduff also says, ‘bleed, bleed poor country.’ Also, ‘Each new morn, new widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows strike heaven on the face, that it resounds as if it felt with Scotland, and yelled out like a syllable of dolour.’ People don’t talk highly of Macbeth unlike Duncan, words like ‘black’ and ‘treacherous’ and also ‘tyrant’ are to name but a few. Macduff comments, ‘not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evils, to top Macbeth.’ In act4 sc3 L57-60 Malcolm says, ‘I grant him bloody, luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin that has a name.’ Macduff shows a point that he believes that a king should be chosen by divine right (this also shows that Shakespeare as well believes in divine right) in act4 sc3, ‘with an untitled tyrant…’ But

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