In Act 1, how does Duncan view Macbeth's actions?

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In Act I, King Duncan sees Macbeth as a loyal soldier and countryman.  He hears that Macbeth has effectively killed the treacherous MacDonwald.  The sergeant enters and tells the king about the brave actions of Macbeth.

For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements.

In order to reward Macbeth for his brave deeds, King Duncan bestows the title Thane of Cawdor on him.  This action shows that the king is grateful for his actions and trusts him immensely.

This foreshadows future events.  Macbeth has killed one traitor, but he himself will soon plan to kill the king and eventually become a traitor himself.  This shows Duncan, who once trusted MacDonwald, has problems picking men of strong morals to trust.


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