This perspective is complicated, however, once we see Macbeth interact with the three witches. We realize that his physical courage is joined by a consuming ambition and a tendency to self-doubt—the prediction that he will be king brings him joy, but it also creates inner turmoil. These three attributes—bravery, ambition, and self-doubt—struggle for mastery of Macbeth throughout the play.
Representations of Kingship and Power in Shakespeare's Second Tetralogy Amanda Mabillard Since it is impossible to know Shakespeare's attitudes, beliefs, and play writing methodology, we can only present hypotheses, based upon textual evidence, regarding his authorial intention and the underlying didactic message found in the second tetralogy of history plays.
In constructing his history plays, Shakespeare most likely relied upon the Chronicles of Froissart, and, primarily, Holinshed, but he altered and embellished the material found in these sources.
Through an examination of both the plays and Shakespeare's sources, we see that many of the changes are implemented to promote a deliberate political philosophy. The plays make the statement that the best possible ruler must be both anointed and politically shrewd.
A monarch's license to rule is not based simply on his or her divine right of succession, but also on his or her ability to shoulder the responsibility that comes with being divinely appointed — to lead the people wisely, placing the welfare of the nation above personal desire. This philosophy seems to be a combination of Tudor and Machiavellian theories on the nature of kingship and power.
Moreover, it is possible that this didactic message linking all four history plays in the second tetralogy was constructed as a reaction to the succession problem and the potentiality that Elizabeth and her council might choose an heir lacking in one or both of these areas.
Thus, the plays, to a large extent, can be read as a collective guide to help Elizabeth select the next ruler of England. In order to assess the credibility of the argument that the plays contain the didactic message that a ruler needs the combination of divine right and leadership qualities, we must examine the three main characters, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, as found in the chronicles and in the plays.
The historical events of Richard's reign are kept in sequence and no significant changes are made to his character. However, it is the small and subtle changes to the chronicles that so effectively reshape the focus of the play from a simple report on history, to a dramatic lesson on the responsibilities of monarchs.
Many of the embellishments Shakespeare makes to the information he found in Holinshed's Chronicles are directed towards stressing and reaffirming Richard's status as a divinely sanctioned king. The first and most striking example is the way the character of Gaunt changes.
Shakespeare's portrayal of Gaunt is one of the few instances where he dramatically alters the source material of Holinshed1. In the Chronicles, Gaunt is a disorderly and rapacious magnate. However, in Richard II, Gaunt is the voice of reason, wisdom, and, above all, patriotism.
It is likely that Shakespeare relied on the Chronicle of Froissart for his characterization of Gaunt. The following passage from Froissart's Chronicle shows the similarities: The duke of Lancastre was sore dyspleased in his mind to se the kynge his nephewe mysse use himselfe in dyvers thynges as he dyd.
He consydred the tyme to come lyke a sage prince, and somtyme sayd to suche as he trusted best: Our nephue the kynge of Englande wyll shame all or he cease: The Frenchman are right subtyle; for one myschiefe that falleth amonge us, they wolde it were ten, for otherwise they canne nat recover their dommages, nor come to their ententes, but by our owne means and dyscorde betwene ourselfe.
And we se dayly that all realmes devyded are destroyed. John Froissart, Chronicles [London: In these passages from Froissart is a Gaunt who greatly resembles Shakespeare's character, but Shakespeare further enhances Gaunt's patriotism and loyalty to the king in order to place the emphasis on Richard's divine right to rule.
In many of his speeches in the play, Gaunt emphatically expounds the importance of the Divine Right of Kings. Gaunt knows Richard was an accomplice in the murder of Gloucester, but still he refuses to support any action that would put Richard's crown at risk: To stir against the butchers of his life!
But since correction lieth in those hands Which made the fault that we cannot correct, Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven. I, ii, God's is the quarrel; for God's substitute, His deputy anointed in His sight, Hath caused his death; the which is wrongfully, Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift An angry arm against His minister.
I, ii, Protecting Richard's position as God's vicegerent is extremely important to Gaunt. For whatever crimes Richard has committed, it is the responsibility of God alone, not Richard's subjects, to judge and punish him for his offenses.
Gaunt's condemnation of disobedience to Richard because of Richard's divine right to the crown exemplifies the Tudor political thought of the sixteenth century. The Tudors adopted the theory of the Divine Right of Kings in the attempt to maintain a strong government, and to counter the Papal authority as the state attempted to break away from the church.
The theory became the foremost doctrine of the time regarding the nature of kingship, and rests on four main statements: The vehicles for the expression of Tudor propaganda were usually homilies and sermons.
It declares the following: It is intolerable ignorance, madness, and wickedness for subjects to make any murmuring, rebellion or insurrection against their most dear and most dread sovereign Lord and King, ordained and appointed by God's goodness for their commodity, peace, and quietness.
As quoted in B. Joseph, Shakespeare's Eden [London:Importance of the Witches Prophecies in Macbeth - Macbeth is a play written by Shakespeare that is set in eleventh century Scotland. In the play, the witches give Macbeth numerous prophecies that are malicious designs to provoke Macbeth towards his demise.
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I have been using O'Brien's books for sometime now. All of her books are useful and help in teaching the complicated ideas in Shakespeare. If you are willing to take some risks with your class, get them motivated, and learn a few things yourself then this is an excellent way to experiment with Shakespeare.
Allusions are used by authors as metaphors or similes. In his play 'Macbeth,' William Shakespeare uses many allusions to add description. In this. Macbeth by: William Shakespeare Summary.
Plot Overview; Summary & Analysis; Act 1, scenes 1–4; Read an in-depth analysis of Macbeth. Lady Macbeth - Macbeth’s wife, a deeply ambitious woman who lusts for power and position. Early in the play she seems to be the stronger and more ruthless of the two, as she urges her husband to kill.
Allusions are used by authors as metaphors or similes. In his play 'Macbeth,' William Shakespeare uses many allusions to add description. In this.