shakespeare final - Anthony Milne-800628757-Shakespeare...

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Anthony Milne-800628757-Shakespeare Final- Qualifications And Their Situations From the murder and deceit of Macbeth, to the grand leadership and accomplishment in Henry V, Shakespeare often paints very different pictures of what royalty and kingship may hold. Although concepts of what makes a king either good or bad are consistently illustrated throughout Shakespeare’s plays, the success of these kings is not entirely the direct result of these distinctions. Rather, Shakespeare’s plays seem to draw on two very different concepts with those of positive kingly characteristics as well as rightful inheritance to determine whether a king’s reign may be considered as successful. Consistently we see that those kings who do not embody the characteristics of a good king will fail as rulers, while at the same time those kings who received their throne in any way besides a rightful passing are marked with certain demise and failure. Therefore, it is in the purpose of this paper to propose that, in Shakespeare’s plays, the success of a king is dependant on whether they possess both the personal characteristics necessary to be a good king as well as the legitimate right to the throne. In order to form a conclusion using the idea of good kingly characteristics, these characteristics must be examined in the context of Shakespeare’s plays. In one sense, Shakespeare’s representation of good kingly characteristics are those of general wisdom with political, military, and theological knowledge as well as the ability to speak well and present oneself in a beneficial manner. This analysis is best illustrated in a very encapsulating speech in Henry V with the archbishop of Canterbury describing Henry V and more generally the skills of a good king with the speech, “Hear him but reason in divinity And, all-admiring, with an inward wish, You would desire the King were made a prelate. Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,
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You would say it hath been all in all his study. List his discourse of war, and you shall hear A fearful battle rendered you in music. Turn him to any cause of policy, The Gordian knot of it he will unloose Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks, The air, a chartered libertine, is still, And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences.” (Henry V Act I Scene I Lines 40-52). The Archbishop is referring to the positive manner of a king to speak express himself with the tools of great knowledge and fluency, as well as speak in a way that is captivating to listeners. Another idea that must be discussed, is that relating to morality and a virtuous nature. Although Shakespeare does make the consistent inference that a good ruler needs to be virtuous, he does seem to illustrate somewhat of a theme that those kings that are of good character are those that are more successful. This theme can be argued in direct connection with the proposal that a successful king must be one that
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