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Malcolm describes Cawdor's last moments before execution, what is Duncan's reply?

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cnicolew20 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 14, 2010 at 1:05 AM via web

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Malcolm describes Cawdor's last moments before execution, what is Duncan's reply?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 14, 2010 at 1:12 AM (Answer #1)

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The answer you are looking for can be found at the start of Act I, Scene 4.

In that scene, Malcolm tells Duncan that the Thane of Cawdor died well.  He begged for the king's forgiveness and apologized for what he had done (he became a traitor and helped the enemy in the battle that had just finished).

When Duncan hears this, he is not really all that impressed.  Basically, he just says there's just now way to know what a person is really like by looking at them.  He says he trusted Cawdor and that Cawdor's actions proved he was wrong to do that.

Here's the quote:

There's no art
To find the mind's construction in the face:
He was a gentleman on whom I built 290
An absolute trust.

Ironically, enough, Duncan then turns around and puts his trust in Macbeth, making him Thane of Cawdor.  That doesn't turn out so well for Duncan either...

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