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"With great power comes great responsibility." - SoPhIsTiCaTeD_fOrD

Sakespeare View on Kinghip

  • Date Submitted: 12/05/2013 09:11 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.1 
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What views of kingship does Shakespeare present in ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Macbeth’?

‘Hamlet’ was written in the late sixteenth or very early seventeenth century during Elizabeth I rein.   At the time when ‘Hamlet’ first appeared on stage, questions about loyalty and national security, and the figure of the aging female monarch, were current in Elizabethan England. The rein of Elizabeth I may have influenced Shakespeare into writing ‘Hamlet’ as its about spying and revenge because Elizabeth sent spies to spy on Mary just like in the play Claudius spies on Hamlet, this goes to show that there was a lot of spying going on during Elizabethan times and was seen as acceptable as the monarch was doing it. Whereas ‘Macbeth’ was written by William Shakespeare in around 1606 and wrote it whilst James I was on the throne. ‘Macbeth’ was written for James the 1st, who would have been interested in kingship and believed in the "chain of being" and the "divine right" of kings as the Jacobean times were very religious. The "chain of being" is the belief that everything is connected like a chain, and is affected by anything above it. God was believed to be at the top of the chain, and the King was believed to be the highest on earth. The "divine right" was the belief that rightful kings were put there by God, and should not be removed. Shakespeare represents these with the prosperity when Duncan is king and the unnaturalness and evil, which is present when Macbeth becomes king by evil means.

Shakespeare presents Macbeth and Claudius in similar ways, both known to be ‘evil’ as they both kill the King in divine right in order to gain power. However psychologically, Claudius and Macbeth are very different. Claudius is an evil, ambitious politician with little remorse for his crime. For the most part, he is heartless. Claudius could arguably be called a shallow and straightforward character, hell-bent on serving his own interests and with little concern for all else for example during his...


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