What are the various filial and familial relations within Macbeth?For example: The king and his subjects, and Macduff and his family...[kingship + king/ subject relations] (All this can help me...

What are the various filial and familial relations within Macbeth?

For example: The king and his subjects, and Macduff and his family...
[kingship + king/ subject relations]

(All this can help me connect a web of ideas to the characters and have a deeper understanding on the structure of Macbeth.)



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shakespeareguru's profile pic

shakespeareguru | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

First, let's look a the question of the king and his subjects.  Whether you are considering the opening of the play when Duncan is king or after his  murder when Macbeth becomes king, these relationships are easy.  King Duncan is the king, so everyone else is his subject, or King Macbeth is the king, so everyone else is his subject. This is why those who disagree with the king either flee the country or fight.  The play begins with a battle between the king and those who disagree with his being king, and it ends with this as well.  The only characters in the play who are not the King of Scotland's subjects are Siward, Young Siward, and an English doctor who are English and loyal to their English king.

Now, for families.

  • Duncan has two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain;
  • Macbeth has a wife only, Lady Macbeth;
  • Banquo has a son, Fleance;
  • Macduff has a wife, Lady Macduff, and a son (Boy)
  • Lennox, Ross, Menteith, Angus, and Caithness are all noblemen of Scotland, and, as such, loyal to whomever is king (unless they fight or flee), but have no other family mentioned in the play;
  • Siward has a son, Young Siward.

Of course, part of the action of the play involves the withdrawing of some characters' allegiances to their king.  But, technically, until the king is killed, each subject of either Scotland or England is a subject of that country's king.



kc4u's profile pic

kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Consider these filial relationships first:

a) King Duncan and his two sons--Malcolm and Donalbain;

b) Banquo and his son, Fleance;

c) Macduff and Lady Macduff and their son;

d) Old Siward and his son.

You may find other familial relations as well in the play:

1) Duncan and Macbeth are two cousins;

2) Ross and Lady Macduff are also cousins;

3) Malcolm and Donalbain are two brothers;

4) Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are husband and wife;

5) Macduff and Lady Macduff are another conjugal pair

You have mentioned the king-subjects relation, but that does not fall in the familial/filial category, though king Duncan and more so the English king may be seen as father figures.

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