This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Comparing The Murder Of The King In Hamlet, Richard Ii, Henry Viii, Macbeth And Julius Caesar

2780 words - 11 pages

Murder of the King in Hamlet, Richard II, Henry VIII, Macbeth and Julius Caesar  

    Kings are everywhere in Shakespeare, from Hamlet to Richard the Second, from Henry the Eighth to Macbeth; many of the plays contain a central element of a king or autocratic head of state such as Julius Caesar, for example. They focus more specifically on the nature of that person's power, especially on the question of removing it; what it means on both a political and psychological level, how it can be achieved, and what will happen afterwards. This is not surprising, considering the times Shakespeare was living in: with the question of who ruled and where their authority came from being ever more increasingly asked in Elizabethan and Jacobean times the observations he makes are especially pertinent.

Kings and kingship also lend themselves well to drama; the king is a symbol of the order (or disorder) of the day and a man who possesses (almost) absolute authority and the status that accompanies that, whilst in contrast he is also a human being with the ordinary weaknesses of that condition. Shakespeare is also said to have loved the drama of killing; according to legend he would "make a speech when he killed a calf" in his father's abattoir (Richard Wilson: 'A Brute Part'.) The dramatic image of sacrifice is particularly prevalent in Julius Caesar; Brutus says:

" Let us be sacrificers but not butchers, Caius.

We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar;

And in the spirit of men there is no blood:

O! then that we could come by Caesar's spirit,

And not dismember Caesar. But, alas!

Caesar must bleed for it. "

( II.i.166-171 )

Many images of sacrifice are present throughout the play, such as the servant returning and saying to Caesar:

" They would not have you stir forth to-day.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,

They could not find a heart within the beast."

( II.ii.38-40 )

Brutus and Cassius do not have any desire to kill Caesar but they feel he is a sacrifice that must be made.

This image of sacrifice is very important when we look at the reasons for killing the king. During the English Civil War the Puritans are reputed to have commonly recited the chant

" 'Tis to preserve his Majesty

That we against him fight."

( Mack: Killing the King; pg 308 )

The thinking behind this came from an idea that had been around for many centuries but which had become more and more prevalent in Elizabethan times, actually setting a legal precedent as a defence then, often when the monarchy wished to reclaim lands sold by a usually young, inexperienced sovereign. Lawyers of the court claimed that the king had two bodies; firstly the body natural, prey to the follies and frailties that all human beings were capable of, but then superseding that the body politic which was infallible and immortal. The perfection of the body politic overruled any failings of the body natural. The body politic of the sovereign...

Find Another Essay On Comparing the Murder of the King in Hamlet, Richard II, Henry VIII, Macbeth and Julius Caesar

Was the Murder of Julius Caesar Justifiable?

1146 words - 5 pages each year, and it is in this case I believe homicide is most justifiable. So was the murder of Julius Caesar justifiable? The question has many different possible answers, and it is all up to speculation. I personally believe that homicides can be justified in very few scenarios, but can be, nonetheless. Pertaining to Caesar, I believe Brutus had justifiable motive to kill Caesar, and the homicide, similar to the murder of Osama Bin Laden was

King Henry VIII: The Golden King

1651 words - 7 pages King Henry VIII was not only a major component of England’s governmental structure, but was also an integral part of English Renaissance literature. From writing love poems to participating in literary endeavors, King Henry VIII revolutionized literature in England all while running the country. His humanist ideals and youthful, energetic personality provided a refreshing change of pace from the previous king, which resulted in the trust and

Betrayal in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar

1874 words - 8 pages "Et tu – Brute?" “Yet each man kills the thing he loves By each let this be heard,Some do it with a bitter look,Some with a flattering word,The coward does it with a kiss,The brave man with a sword,” by Oscar Wilde. In the tragedies of Shakespeare we encounter betrayal upon his plays and how it leads to catastrophic consequences. In this case Macbeth, hamlet and Julius Caesar are no exceptions. In the Shakespearean tragedies Macbeth Hamlet, and

Comparing Leadership In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Machiavelli’s The Prince

1467 words - 6 pages the “right” decisions for the community, taking the blame, and being selfless. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Machiavelli’s The Prince, there are various examples as to what is the difference between a good and a bad leader, including initiative, accountability, generosity, and the leader’s values. A leader must learn to take the initiatives for many of his projects. In Julius Caesar, Cassius tries to convince Brutus of joining the

King Henry VIII Of England and Ireland

2170 words - 9 pages Henry the VIII was born in June 28, 1491. Named after his father, Henry VII, he was bound to live a great life. He was Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s second son and was not expected to be King, until his brother’s death in 1501 (Eakins). Henry was born at Greenwich Palace and was one of the three children that survived birth. Henry was 18 years old when he became King. He was very smart and talented as a child. Henry the VIII was very fond of

King Henry VIII: The Musical Court

1569 words - 7 pages King Henry VIII was born in 1491, and became king in 1509, until his death in 1547. He is probably most known for his six marriages, which he had two of his former wives beheaded. As king, Henry VIII was responsible for separating England from the Roman Catholic Church creating the newly formed Church of England. As a result of this reformation, King Henry VIII discontinued all monasteries serving Rome in England to get rid of all Catholic

Henry VIII: King of England

1762 words - 7 pages , at Greenwich Palace, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had their second son named Henry VIII. It was important for a king to have as many heirs as possible because of the mortality rate during this time in England. Henry became the heir to the throne after the death of his older brother, Arthur in 1502. Seven years later he succeeded to the throne of England. He was known for his personality; his intelligence, curiosity, and his ability to learn

The Complex Character of King Richard II

3454 words - 14 pages The Complex Character of King Richard II A general conclusion of most critics is that Richard II is a play about the deposition of a "weak and effeminate" king. That he was a weak king, will be conceded. That he was an inferior person, will not. The insight to Richard's character and motivation is to view him as a person consistently acting his way through life. Richard was a man who held great love for show and ceremony. This idiosyncrasy

King Henry VIII

2295 words - 9 pages instruments, being athletic, being a good linguist, dancing, hunting, and a musical composer among many other attributes (Fry 95). When Henry VIII first came to the throne, he had little to no interest in politics, and allowed affairs to be managed by the pacific Richard Foxe and Warham. While King Henry VIII was wrapped up in his own social life, Cardinal Wolsey became supreme. It took Wolsey’s and King Ferdinand of Spain, Catherine of Aragon’s

Comparing Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Julius Caesar

763 words - 4 pages Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against the Roman dictator Julius Caesar, his assassination, and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi. In 1599, when the play was first performed, Queen Elizabeth I had sat on the throne for nearly forty years, enlarging her power at the expense of the aristocracy and the House of Commons. Sir Gawain and the Green knight is Arthurian romance

King Henry VIII

733 words - 3 pages of Spain. The marriage took place after Henry’s father passed away that same year. As King, Henry VIII was always striving for complete authority. Also King Henry wanted a son to heir his throne to continue on the Tudor dynasty. In order to do this King Henry would do anything it took, even marrying six spouses! Catherine of Argon was King Henry’s first wife. They have been married for twenty years and Catherine had only given birth to one girl

Similar Essays

The Wives Of King Henry Viii

1597 words - 6 pages VIII. The two were married later in their teens, but six months after the marriage, Arthur died, likely a victim of the fatal ‘sweating sickness’. Approximately four years later, she married King Henry VIII and became pregnant soon after. After several children, many of whom were stillborn or died shortly after birth, King Henry became impatient with his lack of a male heir. He requested a divorce to Catherine, but the attempt was in vain until he

Comparing The Tragedy Of Macbeth And The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar

1293 words - 5 pages Shibani Lal English II Ms. Deadmon 14 March 2014 Literary Analysis Essay “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” are written by William Shakespeare. The most common theme in these two plays is treacherous murder because both kings were murdered. Julius Caesar was killed by his friend Brutus. He was murdered in front of everyone. King Duncan was killed in his bedroom while asleep. The similarities between both plays are both

Henry Viii: The Narcissistic King Essay

2310 words - 9 pages sent to the Tower and executed. Henry VIII, like other monarchs, believed that God had ordained him as king to rule in his name and use whatever means he saw fit to rule his domain. Henry’s legacy is nonetheless tainted with the chauvinistic lust and gluttony that he displayed during his reign. There is little doubt that he left the English Crown in a greater state of turmoil and confusion than had existed before his ascendency to the throne

The Lives And Wives Of King Henry Viii

1156 words - 5 pages King Henry VIII is considerable the most controversial monarch Great Britain has ever had. He is commonly known for his ill-advised decisions, six wives, and splitting Great Britain from the Catholic Church to create the Church of England. King Henry VIII of England’s determination to guarantee his family line’s continuation in the throne caused many problems, such as religious tensions, economic hardships, and political adversaries that