Macbeth (Shakespeare) Character Description of King Duncan and Macbeth.

Essay by Xa4A-, March 2003

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One of the smaller, yet important, characters is King Duncan. Duncan is an intelligent, generous, trusting and simply, a good king. Especially his goodness contributed to the doubt of Macbeth to actually kill the king. Complimenting his companions for all their nobleness demonstrates Duncan's love to the people around him and effects their compassion for him.

"O valiant cousin! Worthy gentlemen!" (Act I, Scene 2) is Duncan's response to someone he barely knows and just explains what had happened during the battle and how Macbeth saved Duncan's kingdom. Of course it is logical that Duncan is very content with the news of a victories view on the battle. However, to call someone a valiant cousin and a worthy gentlemen if he does not know who this men with the news is, shows Duncan's respect to a man who is of much lower class than himself. As well it gives the audience the feeling that Duncan is a man who rather lives in a peaceful country than in a country that often fights for land.

Besides men he does not know very well, his appreciation of his noble follower Banquo is more than once expressed by Duncan. Firstly he "infold thee (Banquo) and hold thee to my heart" (Act I Scene 4) and not much later expresses again his thankfulness of Banquo's loyalty when he compliments him (to the audience) by calling him truly worthy. And by naming Macbeth thane of Cawdor he demonstrates his generosity and appreciation for a, in his eyes, noble man. Duncan really is a loving and generous man; he wants the very best for his people and recognizes loyalty and the good side in people. Maybe that is his tragic flaw. Perhaps Duncan is naïve, or perhaps he wants to set the example for his...