English – Macbeth: Misplaced Priorites

Success in life is often derived from careful prioritization. Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, is a play about one man’s long time ambition, which drove his desire to be king and his fall from grace. Three characters from the play suffer from misplaced priorities are Duncan, Macduff and Banquo. King Duncan did not have his priorities in order, and, as a result, death was his ultimate price. Firstly, Duncan was too ambitious for his own children to become Kings. Instead of concentrating on his country and who would make a good King, Duncan placed his dream on his children becoming Kings. Secondly, Duncan should have named Macbeth Prince of Cumberland. When Macbeth learns that Malcolm is to be the next King, he says: The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step, on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires: the eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, which the eye fears, when it is done to see. (I, iv, 47-52) Malcolm was a poor excuse for a soldier and should not become King. Duncan’s naming his son Malcolm as Prince of Cumberland signed his own death warrant. If Prince, Malcolm would weaken he strength of his country. Malcolm is a poor excuse for a soldier, although it is customary for a King to pass his crown down to his son, Malcolm was not suited to be a King. Consequently, death was Duncan’s ultimate price because of his misplaced priorities.

Macduff was another individual who didn’t have his priorities set straight and who suffered for his crime. Firstly, Macduff did not attend Macbeth’s coronation. Will you to Scone? No cousin, I’ll to fife. (III, I, 35-36) Macduff did not attend Macbeth’s coronation, he went to fife to revolt against Macbeth. Macbeth later discovered what Macduff had in mind, so he sent his henchmen to murder Macduff’s family. Secondly, Macduff put his love of his country ahead of his own family. After Macduff arrived in England he received word that Macbeth’s murderers had slaughtered his family: I cannot but remember such things were, that were most precious to me. Did heaven look on, and would not take their part? Sinful Macduff, they were all struck for thee! naught that I am, not for their own demerits, but for mine, fell slaughter on their souls: heaven rest them now. Macduff sank very low, because by putting his love of his country ahead of his family, he was not at home to protect his family.

Clearly, Macduff suffered greatly of his loss of his family, because of his misplace priorities his love of his country was too great. Banquo was another character in Macbeth who suffered because of misplaced priorities. Firstly the three witches had told Banquo that his sons would be future Kings of Scotland. Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none. (I, iii, 68) Banquo contributed to his own death by keeping the future destiny told by the three witches, of his sons becoming Kings a secret. If Banquo would have Duncan that his sons would be Kings, Duncan wouldn’t have been murdered, Macbeth would not be King, and Banquo’s life would be spared. Secondly if Banquo had told the other thanes of Scotland about his suspicions of Macbeth, he might have lived. However, he says: Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, glamis, all, as the weird women promis’dst most foully for’t: yet it was said it should not stand in thy posterity, but that myself should be the root and father of many Kings. If there come truth from them, as upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine, why by verities on the made good, may they not be my oracles as well and set me up in hope? But hush, no more. (III, i, 1-10) Banquo didn’t inform the other thanes of his suspicions of Macbeth, if he had, his life could have been spared and perhaps Macbeth’s blood baths could have been averted. Banquo contributed to his own death by having misplaced priorities. Had he prioritized he might have lived to see his sons become Kings one day. Three characters from Macbeth, a play of one man’s long time ambition that drove his desire to be king who suffer because of misplaced priorities are Duncan, Macduff and Banquo. Clearly Duncan, Macduff and Banquo are men in this play that have misplaced priorities. If they had prioritized there might have been fewer unfortunate deaths or grievances.

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