The nature of kingship
In the era of the book, a King is considered to be god’s representative on earth and is supposed to have positive characteristics. Shakespeare details the characteristics of the leaders, both good and bad, and analyses their actions as kings. There is a contrast shown between the natures of kingship of the four different Kings namely, regarding their power, loyalty and honesty, which are key characteristics of a good king.
One characteristic of any King is that they all have power. Macbeth is capable of extreme brutality and has the ability to be physically powerful. Once he becomes king, he abuses his power by murdering any person he thought is a threat, including women and children. He will kill anyone simply for the sake of maintaining his power.
Edward is said to have healing powers and he is associated with “heaven” and all things “saintly“. Edward, therefore, in opposition to Macbeth, is nurturing and caring, a king blessed with the power to heal. It’s clear that he represents absolute good and through his association with Edward, Malcolm also comes to be associated with the forces of good. Malcolm is an intelligent man with a clear sense of the qualities a King should have and of the responsibilities that Kingship brings. King Duncan is seen perfect, fair king in the play, an example to others. Although King Duncan is a good man and king and an example to others, he's too “soft and gentle of nature”, and too humble to rule effectively.
Malcolm is loyal to his people and will not abuse his power like "devilish Macbeth". This is evidenced by Malcolm's criticism of Macbeth, which include calling him bloody, avaricious, and false. Macbeth is well-known as a brave and courageous warrior. He shows his immense his loyalty to King Duncan, on the field of battle. He risks his life for the king, which shows tremendous loyalty because he is risking his life for King Duncan's ideas and motives. Even though later in the play he is sort of corrupted and becomes disloyal he started loyal to King Duncan. King Edward of England is least mentioned in the play, but is still seen as a good, loyal king, who is unwilling to see others suffer. King Duncan is a good king who lacks distrust of those around him. He is a generous man who wants the best for his kingdom.
Macbeth was honest at first because he was one of the King's so called 'valiant cousin' and 'worthy gentleman' which shows how the king thinks of him.