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What is the relationship between Macbeth and Duncan?

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 30, 2008 at 4:56 AM via web

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What is the relationship between Macbeth and Duncan?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 30, 2008 at 7:46 AM (Answer #1)

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Duncan and Macbeth are cousins.  In Act 1, sc. 7, in Macbeth's soliloquy, he says, "...He's here in double trust:/ First, as I am his kinsman...".  It is this family relationship that, in part, allows for him to become king. During this soliloquy in Act 1, sc. 7, Macbeth says that he has no reason to kill Duncan except for his "driving ambition".  He says that he is kin to Duncan and he is Duncan's subject which are two excellent reasons to not kill him.  Of course, it doesn't take his wife long to convince him otherwise.  Not only would the new king of England, King James I have been flattered by the idea that it was wrong and upset the natural order to kill a king, but he would also liked the idea being presented that it was unnatural to kill a relative.  That it is unnatural to kill a relative is stated in Act 2, sc. 4 by Ross when he says, in reference to Malcolm and Donalbain having fled Scotland presumably because of their guilt, "Gainst nature still!"

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sarangij | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 14, 2008 at 12:01 PM (Answer #2)

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 Duncan and Macbeth are cousins in the tragedy of Macbeth.They share other bonds as well.

Duncan is the King and Macbeth is at his service; a brave patriot who saves Duncan from humiliation. DUNCAN IS GUEST AND MACBETH IS HOST (in the play).

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