Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in the 16th century as tribute to king James the first. At the start of the text king Duncan made me believe that anyone could be a good leader, Duncan effectively portrayed this idea because he put the needs of his country in front of his own. Throughout the text Shakespeare influenced my opinion to change when Macbeth came into power as he cared about no one but himself; Shakespeare influences re seen well through the techniques soliloquies, irony and contrast.
King Duncan is a good leader whose only concern is his country. Macbeth is the thane of Glamis; he is an honorable warrior that has potential to be a good leader. He is described as a “peerless kinsmen” who doesn’t want to risk his status therefore avoids evil, the beginning of the novel makes me believe that anyone can be a good leader that is until the weird sisters foretell Macbeths prophesies one of which states that he is to be king.
Macbeth’s unchecked ambition and persuasion from Lady Macbeth makes him peruse to kill Duncan and become the King of Scotland. Shakespeare effectively uses contrast to show the effect of ambition and evil on humans, the contrast between Duncan and Macbeth influenced me to change my opinion on the idea that anyone can be a good leader, Shakespeare does this by presenting Duncan as an excellent king, who is very trusting and gullible and although holding a lot of power in his hands he doesn’t abuse it and become corrupt by power, In contrast Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as an honorable warrior who would never stoop to murder, but Macbeths unchecked ambition drives him to battle with his conscious and in conclusion pursue to kill King Duncan.
When Macbeth gains power over Scotland he becomes more callous and only cares for his own needs which in contrast is different to King Duncan who only cared for the needs of his country, at the end of the novel Macbeth is disillusioned “he has sold his soul for nothing”. This shows contrast between Duncan and Macbeth, Duncan being a good leader and Macbeth being a bloody tyrant. Shakespeare purpose of this contrast is to show that not anyone can be a good leader and that it takes a good person to actually be a good leader.
After the death of Duncan, Macbeth looses all decency; he no longer consults with his wife who he describes as his partner in crime. He uses his power for his own benefit and not for his country this shows that he is callous and will kill anyone who gets in his way. Shakespeare uses soliloquies through out the text to reveal the inner workings of a characters mind; this technique shows that not anyone can be a good leader because in order to be a good leader your thoughts have to be affirmative with your actions. Macbeths thoughts are often completely different to what he is outwardly saying or doing this is seen when he claims to be Duncan’s loyal subject but secretly is plotting to execute him, he says “the bell invites me, hear it not, Duncan for it is a knell, that summons thee to heaven or to hell”.
Another example of soliloquies is when Macbeth pretends to be Banquos friend when he says “fail it not our feast tonight” whilst in his mind he is delegating to get him killed. Throughout the text Shakespeare uses irony to show that some people are not suited to wield power, irony gives the audience insight on something that the characters don’t know, irony is well shown after the death of Duncan, when Macbeth pretends to be concerned and alarmed towards the death of Duncan this is seen when he says “Had I but dies an hour before this”, we as the audience are aware of his remorse and catch on to this double meaning. Soliloquies and irony intergrade effectively to show that Macbeth’s deceitful and twofaced nature prevents him from being a good leader because in order to be a good leader you must be honest and trustworthy, these are two traits that Macbeth doesn’t hold. Shakespeare purpose in this is to show that a leader cannot have unchecked ambition as this will drive them to turn to darkness in order to keep there power in hold.
At the beginning of the text my opinion was that anyone can be a good leader, I came to this conclusion because Duncan was a good leader and Macbeth showed potential in becoming a good leader. Shakespeare influenced my opinion to change to, not anyone can be a good leader and in order to be a good leader you have to be a good person, Shakespeare did this through Macbeth though turned to darkness to gain power and then further abused his power by killing anyone who got in his way, in conclusion Macbeth becomes a bloody tyrant who has no one to stand by him.