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Changing of Leadership Roles in Macbeth

In the Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, one of more interesting theories is the theory of kingship, which is developed in Macbeth through the presentation of three men. These men are Duncan, Malcolm and Macbeth. Each of these three characters demonstrates the three different and interesting types of kingship, which evidently adds to the play Macbeth. In short, Duncan is a good man but a useless king, Macbeth rules according to the Machiavellian concept and Malcolm’s character emerges as a good man and a good king.

Even before the second Forres scene (act 1, scene 4), the point of Duncan’s downfall, we see that Duncan is a good man but an unskilled king. Duncan is a kind man because he openly and kindly greets his nobles with praise. However, he is a poor leader and hence king because in the first Forres scene (act 1, scene 2) Duncan did not fight along with his soldiers. Some might say that this is necessary because Duncan is an old man; others may see this as a reason why Duncan should not be in power. When a king doesn’t fight along side of his troops, it decreases their confidence and opens opportunity for a rebellion. Another reason Duncan should not rule Scotland is that he is too trusting in his nobles. Duncan’s “absolute trust” for the Thane of Cawdor nearly cost Duncan his life and country. As describe in the second Forres scene, Duncan makes this same mistake again in the Thane of Cawdor, who is this time Macbeth.

During the second Forres scene, Duncan makes probably the most thoughtless speech he could have made. This speech in turn costs him his life. Three terrible mistakes appear in his speech and actions: he rewards unfairly; shows his emotions too freely; and again, he trusts too willingly. Duncan rewards Macbeth with the title and land of the Thane of Cawdor, as well he says that he will have greater rewards later in time, shown by the words “I have begun to plant thee, and will labor to make thee full of growing.”(1.4.28-29) While Macbeth gets many tangible gifts; Banquo simply receives a token of Duncan’s approval, an embrace. A good ruler should never reward unfairly, for the receivers may become jealous or conceded, and may even wish to over through the king. Secondly, Duncan cries half way through his speech. A good king...

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Category:   Macbeth

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