Macbeth’s Confidence in Succession

Food for thought.

Shakespeare Unlimited

“We will establish our estate upon our eldest, Malcolm; whom we name hereafter the Prince of Cumberland: which honor must not unaccompanied invest him only but signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine on all deservers.” These words are spoken by King Duncan as he heaps the title of successor on his son. From Macbeth’s perspective this speech can be divided into the good and the bad news. The bad news is that someone else has been named successor, but the good news is that this honor “shall shine on all deservers.” Macbeth vents his frustration at the bad news when he says to himself “the Prince of Cumberland, that is a step on which I must fall down or else o’erleap for in my way it lies”. But because of the optimistic part of King Duncan’s statement[as previously quoted](“King Duncan promulgates that “this honor shall shine on ALL DESERVERS”)…

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