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Do you think Duncan's remark about inverness is ironical? Comment in the light of...

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mishi979 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted August 6, 2011 at 12:33 AM via web

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Do you think Duncan's remark about inverness is ironical? Comment in the light of Banquo's dialouge.

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arkaless | College Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted August 8, 2011 at 2:28 PM (Answer #1)

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DUNCAN

This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses.
BANQUO
This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
The air is delicate.

These are the lines with which act I scene VI of Macbeth begin. King Duncan, Banquo and others have just arrived at the gate of Macbeth's castle, Inverness. Duncan's remark is highly ironical because he expresses a deep sense of sweet calm in am\n innocent admiration of the castle and its environment. But he can hardly apprehend that the castle which he designates as "a pleasant seat" is soon going to become a horror house of death for him. Duncan's lack of knowledge in this regard and his spontaneous remark contrary to the impending event make the words spoken by him so ironical.

Banquo's response is also a piece of verbal irony. He too does not apprehend anything about Macbeth's foul ambition as being activated by Lady Macbeth. Banquo continues in the same vein as Duncan has just spoken. He refers to the " temple-haunting martlet" having built its nest in some corner of the castle, believing it to be a safe and secure place full of rest and peace, suitable for procreation and caring the little ones. Banquo too refers, like Duncan, to the "nimble" and "sweet" air, and feels it to be "the heaven's breath". But we know that in actuality the castle is soon going to turn into a veritable hell.

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