Discuss the implications of the following statement: "We get a good idea of what it means to be a king from Macbeth."
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I'm not sure that this play really gives us much insight into the life of a king, although it does give us great insight into the life of a tyrant. Ideally, a king is someone who lives his entire life in order to serve his people and nation. I say "ideally," because obviously this ideal is rarely achieved, although the current Queen of the United Kingdom has not done a bad job at being a conscientious royal. A tyrant, however, someone who is mainly concerning with winning and retaining his own power and whose rule is often destructive and abusive. Macbeth, unfortunately, is far more a typical tyrant than an ideal king.
I think that the glimpse that the reader/ audience gets about regal power from Macbeth is how it can possess a hold upon the individual. The ambition for power and the need to covet it as part of the political process is what we really gain from the drama. I don't think we learn much of how about what it means to be a king or what it means to be a ruler because this is not what drives Macbeth. It is his desire to appropriate the world in accordance to his own subjectivity and to hold on to his power and his throne that animates him. Power is what we fully see through Macbeth's narrative. The idea of what it means to be an effective ruler is not entirely grasped. Macbeth does not act in the name of the public good and does not allow himself to be a vessel of his people's needs. Instead, he acts in a manner in which his own sense of control and thirst for power is seen. In this, I am not sure we gain a full idea as to what it means to be a king. Yet, we gain a full level of insight into what forces can serve to corrupt those in the position of political power and the lengths to which people in the position of power will go to hold on to it.
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