What dramatic point does Shakespeare make by including the reference to King Edward the Confessor’s supernatural powers (IV.iii.140-159)?  choose the correct answer from the following,...

What dramatic point does Shakespeare make by including the reference to King Edward the Confessor’s supernatural powers (IV.iii.140-159)?

 

choose the correct answer from the following, discussing your answer:

1. He proves that English kings were greater than Scottish kings.
2. He merely flatters his patron, King James I.
3. He attests to the extent of the Elizabethans’ superstitious nature.
4. He proves that, unlike Macbeth, a good king can invoke supernatural powers to do good.
5. for another reason ( mention it ).

 

Asked on by jwan

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Every reference to the King of England in Macbeth is done with positive words like "worthy" "good" and "honorable".  This is done for two reasons.  First, Malcolm has chosen to go to England for the help he needs to restore the peace to his own country since King Edward's regime is everything his own father's was and everything Macbeth's is not--clean, honorable, worthy, and peaceful.  The other reason is absolutely to stroke the ego of James the I, who is supposedly one of the many Kings who have come down from the most honorable Banquo in the play.  It is interesting, however, that English Kings are portrayed as greater than Scottish Kings since James I of England was ALSO James VI of Scotland (descended from Banquo and son of Mary Queen of Scots, cousin to Elizabeth I of England).

The "brief candle" you mention is a metaphor for Lady Macbeth and her brief life as Queen.  It comes from Macbeth's famous speech after he learns of Lady Macbeth's death when he tells his audience that the world is a stage and we are all merely players strutting our stuff across it until fhe final curtain falls (death).

Of the characters listed there, both the Macbeths could be considered round or fully developed characters.  However, if you must only choose one, go with Macbeth himself since we know more of him and spend much time with him in the last scenes getting into his head and knowing him as a person more clearly than any other character in the play.

Good Luck on your test!

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