How does King Edward, who is described in Act Four, Scene 3, contrast with Macbeth?
King Edward appears to be the polar opposite of Macbeth. According to three witnesses, Macduff, Malcolm, and Ross, Macbeth has been a disaster for Scotland. The Scottish people are bleeding, wounded, and dying because of Macbeth's evil. The country is sick. Macduff describes it as follows:
Each new mornNew widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrowsStrike heaven on the face.
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke.It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gashIs added to her wounds.
...good men’s livesExpire before the flowers in their caps,Dying or ere they sicken.
In Act Four, Scene 3, Malcolm asks the Doctor if King Edward is coming out. The Doctor responds by telling Malcolm that a crowd of people have gathered and are waiting for King Edward to heal them. The Doctor proceeds to explain to Malcolm that King Edward has been given a special power from heaven to heal people by simply touching them. Malcolm then mentions to Macduff that he had witnessed King Edward's special gift and recalled a time when King Edward healed several people who had strange illnesses. Also, King Edward has the gift of prophecy and will bequeath his ability to heal others to his royal descendants. All of King Edward's unique gifts are signs that he is in God's favor. King Edward is described as a benevolent ruler who is loved by God and his subjects.
In contrast, Macbeth has a murderous touch, and his subjects fear him. Also, Macbeth does not possess unique gifts, nor is he in God's favor. Macbeth's descendants will not inherit his throne, and he is essentially cursed by his own ambition.