Shakespeare, Macbeth- What does Macbeth say about kingship?

Essay by speedmeisterA-, April 2005

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What Does Macbeth Say About Kinship? -How?

Macbeth was written just after the gunpowder plot in 1605, this was a severe act of treason and the people of Britain needed something to rest their spirits that it could happen again. Shakespeare wrote this play to quiet the rabble at the top layer of the play, but if one were to investigate more deeply one would find his true beliefs of kingship at the time.

The play is based in Scotland, under the rule of Duncan, under whom society is based on fighting, loyalty and bravery. But his naivety in this situation means he does not expect someone who appears to be loyal to come against him, this is shown at the beginning of the play when the then thane of Cawdor tries to take over with forces from Scandinavia. The attempted takeover is thwarted by the psychopathic maniac, Macbeth. For this Macbeth is rewarded with the title "thane of Cawdor". This shows clearly that Duncan rewards solely on their performance with the sword, with little care for the scheming that may be going on the head.

Duncan treats his nobles and thanes with respect, but never tests them to see if they would prefer to be on his side or in his place. This naivety shown by Duncan at this early stage in the play, shows just how easy it would be for an impostor to get close to the king and in time take his place. But Duncan himself exposes his own weakness when he speaks "there is no art to find the mind's construction in the face" and that "Macbeth is a gentleman on which I built absolute trust". Shakespeare uses the metaphors "build" and "construct", to show who Duncan thinks. He believes that all his...