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Macbeth: A Failure As King? Essay

1239 words - 5 pages

To be regarded as a great king involves many important factors such as being honorable, gracious, and fair. It is far more difficult to regard a king as being great than as being a failure. In Macbeth there are examples of great kings as well as failures as kings. Duncan is a fair and gracious king who is kind to all of his subjects, and Malcolm has the potential to be a great king through the way in which he fights to overthrow Macbeth. Macbeth, however, through his lack of noble qualities is another story. Through arrogance, actions, and cowardice versus bravery Macbeth emerges as the only true failure as a king. Arrogance surfaces in Macbeth because the protagonist believes that he knows better about everything than anyone else. For example, Macbeth is arrogant to his own thoughts and feelings. He easily lets Lady Macbeth manipulate him into killing Duncan by questioning his manhood. Again, Macbeth is just as arrogant when he quickly dismisses Macduff as a threat because an apparition tells him that "none of a woman born shall harm Macbeth" (IV. i 86-87). Only after a short while does Macbeth decide to kill Macduff, and only as a precaution in case Macduff was actually not born of a woman, which Macbeth does not know, and does not even plan on finding out. Finally, Macbeth is very arrogant when an apparition tells him that he will be overthrown when Birnam wood comes to him: That will never be: Who can impress the forest, bid the tree Unfix his earth "“ bound root? Sweet bodements! Good! Rebellious dead, rise near till the wood Of Birnam rise, and our high plac'd Macbeth Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath To time and mortal custom (IV. i 103-109) Macbeth feels very secure in his position as king of Scotland, and that he has absolutely nothing to worry about. He does not even attempt to decipher the riddle. Macbeth's arrogance is brought on by the seeming sureness of his position and by excess pride, and it is a huge cause of his downfall.Actions reflect largely upon the type of person one is and whether one will be a success or a failure. To begin with, Macbeth kills Duncan, who is also a king. The only reason he kills Duncan is that Macbeth has ambition to become the king. Subsequently, Macbeth kills Banquo because he is a threat to him, and he, or his sons, could take the throne away from Macbeth at any time, or so Macbeth believes: To be thus, is nothing, But to be safely thus: our fears in Banquo Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature Reigns that which would be fear'd: "˜tis much he dares, And, to that dauntless temper of his mind, He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour To act in safety. There is none but he Whose being I do fear; and under him My genius is rebuked, as it is said Mark Anthony's was by Caesar. He chid the sisters, When first they put the name of king upon me, And bade them speak to him; then prophet like They hail'd him father...

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