Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco

All art forms change overtime. The surviving pieces of art from a past period helps us establish distinctions and similarities of our time and that period. Music, as a form of art also changes over time. The notes and rhythms played in the renaissance period is different from today’s but due to the passing down of morals, values and norms, the content of the music remains the similar. Music composers compose song about the social and behavioral attitudes of people in their time. With this, a Shakespearean character, Duncan, will be analysed according to modern music to draw some similarities in thought and behavior. Duncan, King of Scotland, was murdered by Macbeth, a man he trusted due to excessive pressure from some witches and most importantly, his wife, Lady Macbeth.First, “Back Stabbers by The O’Jay” (1972). This song captures one of the central themes of the play, Macbeth’s covetous plans against Duncan. The hook repeats “They smile in your face. All the time, they wanna take your place. The back stabbers, back stabbers”(The O’Jays). This song would be the perfect theme song for a Macbeth movie. Macbeth is far different from what Duncan, through his own words, perceives him to be. When Duncan arrives at Macbeth’s castle for the feast, he says to Lady macbeth “Give me your hand. Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly, And shall continue our graces towards him.”(Shakespeare 1.5.34-36). This is after Duncan had been told that Macbeth killed Macdonwald in combat. As a result, he had made Macbeth his new Thane of Cawdor and executed the former thane for treason. Macbeth was still not pleased. He wanted more. He wanted the Scot throne for himself; which leads him to murder Duncan. Second, “Shadows of betrayal” by Krisuin (2011). This death metal record vividly describes how Duncan felt and the emotions that run through his mind when he heard heared that the Thane of Cawdor had betrayed him with strong and explicit lyrics expressing hatred and aggression. Lines like “The sentence of your death in my murdering hands. I’m the unexpected guest right behind your back. I’m the serpent coiling around your neck”(Krisuin). The words carry a weight. Duncan uttered similar words in his own way; “Now more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest, Go pronounce his present death, and with his former title greet Macbeth”(Shakespeare 1.2.72-74). Duncan pronounces execution on the Thane of Cawdor out of anger. He had been deceived and betrayed by a subordinate. Treason was punishable by death in almost every medieval culture. As a king, Duncan did not want to present his subordinates with a weak character. He has to be strong physically and mentally to crash his enemies with severe aggression and brutality.How kings reacted in public did not usually express their most sincere feelings as Duncan revealed to Malcolm in act 1 scene 5 “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust”. Duncan’s words are expressed by Marc Broussard in his 2004 record “Let me leave”. Marc expresses some anguish in his voice that is completely genuine. The theme of the song is that, if you are not worth trusting, give me a heads up so that I can leave before I get attached to you and get hurt. This is the same exact situation Duncan found himself in when he uttered the above words to Malcolm except that the Thane of Cawdor did not give him any clues that he cannot be trusted. With lyrics like “How many times have I come to you bleeding and broken and under attack?”, Marc expresses his trust in his partner who answers with “Why do you still love me when all I have done is to lie and deceive?”, the Marc goes ahead to plead with the hook “Let me, be who I am let me, leave while I can. You know love don’t find this sort of man so just let me leave while I can”. It is hard for Duncan to accept that he has been betrayed by someone he trusted so much.Lastly, “Smiling Faces Sometimes” by Undisputed Truth is a song that depends on another character, Lady Macbeth, to fully access based on Duncan’s character. This 1971 classic soul record won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Song due to its social message. When Duncan met Lady macbeth, he said “See, see our honoured hostess! The love that follows us sometimes is our trouble, which still we thank as love”. The king was completely honest and grateful. He did not have the slightest thought that Lady Macbeth could be planning such evil things against him. She lies and utters sweet words into his ear to make him feel as comfortable as possible. “Your Majesty loads our house. For those of old, and the late dignities heaped up them. We rest your hermits” (Shakespeare 1.6.21-23). Her last sentence in modern English is, we are obliged to pray for you. Duncan’s interaction with Lady Macbeth when he arrives at their castle for the feast is all captured in the lyrics “Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend. Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within. Smiling faces, Smiling Faces, Sometimes they don’t tell the truth.” (Undisputed Truth).Duncan’s analysis with modern music reveals some social troubles and human behaviors that were frowned on 500 years ago and still dispiced today. No matter what time period in history or one’s culture, betrayal and deception are not consider worthy values and murder is not considered a norm.

Post Author: admin


I'm Dora!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out