Shakespeare’s View on Kingship: Macbeth, King Lear and Othello

Shakespeare and His View on Kingship: Macbeth, King Lear and Othello
Kingship is a highly respected and essential role in Shakespeare’s plays. In Macbeth, King Lear and Othello, the three protagonists are extremely proud and confident. However, their tragic flaws – ambition, blindness and jealousy – lead to their downfalls and the deaths of those closest to them. This ultimately highlights Shakespeare’s view that kingship comes with great responsibility and that a leader must be selfless in order to be successful.

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies. The play tells the story of a brave general who is tempted by ambition to kill the king and take his place. At first, Macbeth is reluctant to commit such a crime but his wife encourages him, saying “if it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly” (1.7.69). This shows that even from the beginning, Macbeth is aware that what he is about to do is wrong. However, his ambition overrides his morality and he goes ahead with the murder.

The consequences of Macbeth’s actions are disastrous. He becomes a tyrannical ruler, paranoid and paranoid about retaining his power. He alienates himself from his allies and kills anyone who poses a threat to him, including his own friend Banquo. As Macbeth descends into madness, his wife also loses her grip on reality and commits suicide. In the end, Macbeth is killed in battle by Macduff, fulfilling the prophecy that he would be overthrown by someone “not born of woman” (4.1.72).

King Lear is another tragedy which explores the theme of kingship. In this play, Lear decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. However, he makes the mistake of demanding that each daughter declare her love for him in front of everyone. Cordelia refuses to do this, saying that she loves him as a daughter should love a father (1. 95). This angers Lear and he disowns Cordelia, giving her share of the kingdom to Goneril and Regan instead.

Like Macbeth, Lear’s decision has disastrous consequences. Goneril and Regan are two cunning sisters who soon turn against Lear. They strip him of his power and force him to live in poverty with only a handful of followers. When Lear tries to reason with them, they turn on him even further, leading him to go mad with rage. In the end, Lear dies broken-hearted after witnessing the death of Cordelia (5.3).

Othello is another tragedy which explores themes of kingship and jealousy. The play tells the story of Othello, a moorish general who is married to Desdemona. Othello is very much in love with Desdemona but he begins to doubt her faithfulness when Iago starts planting seeds of suspicion in his mind (3.). These doubts eventually consume Othello completely and he murders Desdemona in a fit of rage (5.). He soon realises that he has been tricked by Iago but it is too late – Desdemona is dead and Othello has lost everything. He kills himself out of remorse (5.).

Shakespeare’s view on kingship is evident in all of these plays. He highlights the dangers of ambition, blindness and jealousy, showing that these are fatal flaws for any leader. He also emphasises the need for a leader to be selfless and to put the needs of others before their own. This is a difficult balance to achieve but it is essential for any ruler who wants to be successful.

FAQ

Shakespeare's views on kingship are that it is a sacred and divine right, and that those who hold the title of king must uphold this view.

These views are manifested in Macbeth, King Lear and Othello through the characters' actions and words. For example, in Macbeth, when Duncan is killed by Macbeth, this act goes against everything that Shakespeare believes a king should be. In King Lear, when Lear banishes Cordelia from his sight, he is not only going against her love for him, but also against the natural order of things – a daughter's love for her father. And in Othello, Iago repeatedly tries to undermine Othello's authority as military leader and husband, which ultimately leads to Othello's downfall.

The protagonists of each play do embody different aspects of kingship. In Macbeth, we see ambition and ruthlessness; in King Lear, we see pride and stubbornness; and in Othello, we see jealousy and insecurity.

This affects their development throughout the plays because it determines how they react to the challenges they face. For example, Macbeth's ambition leads him to kill Duncan so that he can become king himself; however, his ruthlessness then causes him to spiral into madness as he tries to protect his position. Similarly, Lear's pride leads him to banish Cordelia; but his stubbornness prevents him from seeing her true worth until it is too late. And finally, Othello's jealousy leads him to believe Iago's lies about Desdemona cheating on him; but his insecurity means that he cannot trust even Desdemona when she denies these accusations outright.

There are several other characters who also act as symbols or representatives of kingship: Duncan represents good kingship while Banquo represents potential usurpers; Goneril , Regan , Cornwall , Albany represent power-hungry rulers while Kent , Gloucester represent loyal subjects; Edmond embodies illegitimate rule while Edgar stands for rightful heirship . 6 . The most significant message about kingship that Shakespeare communicates through these three plays is that those who seek power for its own sake will ultimately destroy themselves – as seen in the downfall of all three protagonists . Shakespeare's views on kingship are that it is a sacred and divine right, and that those who hold the title of king must uphold this view. These views are manifested in Macbeth, King Lear and Othello through the characters' actions and words. For example, in Macbeth, when Duncan is killed by Macbeth, this act goes against everything that Shakespeare believes a king should be. In King Lear, when Lear banishes Cordelia from his sight, he is not only going against her love for him, but also against the natural order of things – a daughter's love for her father. And in Othello, Iago repeatedly tries to undermine Othello's authority as military leader and husband, which ultimately leads to Othello's downfall. The protagonists of each play do embody different aspects of kingship. In Macbeth, we see ambition and ruthlessness; in King Lear, we see pride and stubbornness; and in Othello, we see jealousy and insecurity. This affects their development throughout the plays because it determines how they react to the challenges they face. For example, Macbeth's ambition leads him to kill Duncan so that he can become king himself; however, his ruthlessness then causes him to spiral into madness as he tries to protect his position. Similarly, Lear's pride leads him to banish Cordelia; but his stubbornness prevents him from seeing her true worth until it is too late. And finally ,Othello's jealousy leads him to believe Iago 's lies about Desdemona cheating on him ; but his insecurity means that he cannot trust even Desdemona when she denies these accusations outright . There are several other characters who also act as symbols or representatives of kingship: Duncan represents good kingship while Banquo represents potential usurpers ; Goneril , Regan , Cornwall , Albany represent power-hungry rulers while Kent , Gloucester represent loyal subjects ; Edmond embodies illegitimate rule while Edgar stands for rightful heirship . The most significant message about kingship that Shakespeare communicates through these three plays is that those who seek power for its own sake will ultimately destroy themselves – as seen in the downfall of all three protagonists .

Shakespeare's views on kingship are that it is a sacred and divine right, and that those who hold the title of king must uphold this view. These views are manifested in Macbeth, King Lear and Othello through the characters' actions and words. For example, in Macbeth, when Duncan is killed by Macbeth, this act goes against everything that Shakespeare believes a king should be. In King Lear, when Lear banishes Cordelia from his sight, he is not only going against her love for him, but also against the natural order of things – a daughter's love for her father. And in Othello, Iago repeatedly tries to undermine Othello's authority as military leader and husband, which ultimately leads to Othello's downfall. The protagonists of each play do embody different aspects of kingship. In Macbeth, we see ambition and ruthlessness; in King Lear, we see pride and stubbornness; and in Othello, we see jealousy and insecurity. This affects their development throughout the plays because it determines how they react to the challenges they face. For example, Macbeth's ambition leads him to kill Duncan so that he can become king himself; however his ruthlessness then causes him to spiral into madness as he tries to protect his position . Similarly ,Lear's pride leads him to banish Cordelia ; but his stubbornness prevents him from seeing her true worth until it is too late .And finally ,Othello's jealousy leads him to believe Iago 's lies about Desdemona cheating on him ; but his insecurity means that he cannot trust even Desdemona when she denies these accusations outright . There are several other characters who also act as symbols or representatives of kingship: Duncan represents good kingship while Banquo represents potential usurpers ; Goneril , Regan , Cornwall , Albany represent power-hungry rulers while Kent , Gloucester represent loyal subjects ; Edmond embodies illegitimate rule while Edgar stands for rightful heirship . The most significant message about kingship that Shakespeare communicates through these three plays is that those who seek power for its own sake will ultimately destroy themselves – as seen in the downfall of all three protagonists .