The Kingly Graces Essay

1293 words - 6 pages

“A king is he that can hold his own or else his title is vain” (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion). After reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth, readers learn about multiple different male characters that would bring a different perspective to the idea of being king. Out of Macbeth, Malcolm, Duncan, and Macduff, Macduff would make the best king. This statement can be proven with a comparison of which of the twelve kingly graces each character possesses: justice, verity, temperance, stability, bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, loyalty, patience, courage, and fortitude.
The first character to analyze is Macbeth himself. When compared to the twelve kingly graces, Macbeth falls at only twenty-five ...view middle of the document...

When compared to the twelve kingly graces, Malcolm falls at about sixty-six percent, possessing all graces except for stability, perseverance, mercy and courage. One of the strong points about Malcolm that makes him seem like a good heir to the throne is in Act 4, Scene 3 when he is talking to Macduff about the graces. He states:
“But I have none. The king-becoming graces, as justice, verity, temp’rance, stableness, bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, devotion, patience, courage, fortitude, I have no relish of them but abound in the division of each several crime, acting it many ways. Nay I have power, I should pour the sweet milk of concord into hell, uproar the universal peace, confound all unity on earth” (IV, iii, 107-116).
Although the above quotation shines a positive light on him by showing his lowliness, this does not make up for the lack of the other four qualities. In Act 2, Scene 3, Malcolm shows that he is not courageous when he and Donaldbain decide to run away from Scotland. He says: “This murderous shaft that’s shot hath not yet lighted, and our safest way is to avoid the aim. Therefore to horse, and let us not be dainty of leave-taking but shift away. There’s a warrant in that theft which steals itself when there’s no mercy left” (II, iii, 167-172). This lack of courage is a strong enough reason to say Malcolm is not fit to be king, even if he possessed all of the other graces.
The third character to compare to the twelve kingly graces is Duncan. Duncan was king of Scotland at the beginning of the play, before he was murdered. Based on the short amount of time the audience knows Duncan, he is one hundred percent fit to be king as he shows all twelve qualities. Two solid examples of Duncan showing his king-like qualities are in Act 1, Scene 4. The first example is when he says:
“O worthiest cousin, the sin of my ingratitude even now was heavy on me. Thou art so far before that swiftest wing of recompense is slow to overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved, that the proportion both of thanks and payment might have been mine! Only I have left to say, more is thy due than more than all can pay” (I, iv, 17-24).
This quotation shows Duncan’s lowliness towards Macbeth and Banquo after they have defeated Macdonwald. The second example is a few lines later when Duncan shows his bounty toward what the two men and the rest of their army did by telling them of their new found place in his heart. He says to Banquo: “Welcome hither. I have begun to plant thee and will...

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