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Candace Farrer

Ms. Callahan

English II

14 December 2007

Restoration of the True Word

In Macbeth a horrifying tragedy by William Shakespeare the word King changes drastically within the middle of the play, but then reclaims its true meaning at the end. In the Oxford English Dictionary, the word king is “the usual title of the male sovereign ruler of an independent state, whose position is either purely hereditary, or hereditary under certain legal conditions, or, if elective, is considered to give to the elected the same attributes and rank as those of a (purely or partly) hereditary ruler” (OED). Within Macbeth, though, the word King means honor, respect, and divine right, which all seems to get lost in the middle of the play when it turns to disorder, evil, and tyrant.

In Acts I and II of Macbeth the word King is used by faithful subjects who refer to Duncan using King showing their respect for Duncan, his Divine Right and his honorable power. While Ross communicates to King Duncan, Lennox, and Malcolm about the battle with the thane of Cawdor, Ross answers King Duncan’s question, “From fie, great King” (I.ii.50). Ross, knowing that Duncan rules because of divine right does not only call Duncan King, but uses great implying the kings ability to rule, showing Ross’s respect to the worthy King. King Duncan, respectable, divine, and honorable rules thanks to divine right, meaning that God selected him to be King. With Duncan ruling, the Kingdom of Scotland remains orderly and functional, and because of this order, Duncan’s subjects respect and appreciate him. Not only does Ross show respect, but do does Macduff later, in Act II. While Macduff, Lennox, and Macbeth talk in Macbeths castle, Macduff asks “Is the King stirring, worthy thane?” (II.iii. 37). Macduff, communicating with the worthy thane Macbeth asks if the King is still awake, which he is not because he is dead. Macduff, asking this question shows his respect and concern for the King....