How does the construction of characters in Macbeth serve to privilege the values, attitudes and beliefs within the discourse of the medieval world?.
Shakespeare's Macbeth explores the values, attitudes and beliefs present during medieval times through the construction of characters such as: Duncan, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Characters are distinguished as being members of either the natural or unnatural world. Through the portrayal of Duncan as a worthy, dedicated and honest man the audience is positioned to perceive him as the divine king that he was. Whereas Macbeth is constructed as a treacherous, usurping traitor who unites the two worlds; disturbing the natural order of the cosmos. Consequently Lady Macbeth is represented as a deceitful, unnatural woman whose weakness is portrayed through her inability to resist the temptation of the evil spirits of darkness. .
Throughout the text Duncan is constructed as a courageous, honest man whose sincerity earned him the respect of his people. Duncan's character acted in correspondence with the natural order of life in the medieval world whereby one had to rightfully earn their position. Duncan had divine right to the throne and was a kind, fair and brave king thus characterizing him as a part of the natural world. Because Duncan was in his rightful place, his territory was in good order and his people were pleased with their King and his gallant efforts to protect and provide for the children of his nation. The metaphor of a king caring for his nation as a father would his children is discussed in Macbeth's address to the king whereby he states that, .
"Your highness" part.
Is to receive our duties; and our duties.
Are to your throne and state children and servants" (1.4.23-25).
This was a common theme in medieval time whereby the people served their king and paid him the respects of a father. In contrast upon the death of the king, his best horses; acting completely out of character: broke free from their stalls and turned on each other displaying traits of one who has turned on their master as Macbeth had on the king, displaying a disturbance of the natural order.