I have a few questions that I need answered, as I have an English assignment on "Macbeth" due soon. I am hoping someone can answer them.
. 1) How does Duncan regard Macbeth ? (Act I, scene iv)
2)What is significant about Duncan's naming his son Malcolm Prince of Cumberland and heir to the throne ? (Act I, Scene iv)
3) Give the substance of Macbeth's soliloquy, pointing out five reasons for his hesitation.
You are only supposed to ask one question at a time, but I will try to answer at least the first two questions. In Act 1, sc. 2, Ross tells Duncan of Macbeth's bravery and success in battle. As a reward, Duncan tells Ross that Macbeth will be given the former Thane of Cawdor's title since that former Thane proved to be a traitor. Obviously, Duncan thinks very highly of Macbeth. Further proof of that high opinion comes out when Duncan decides to honor Macbeth with a visit to Macbeth's castle. In sc. 4 of Act 1, Duncan names his son, Malcolm, the Prince of Cumberland. That means that Malcolm is the crown prince, or the one who is the direct descendent to the throne after Duncan. Macbeth hears this pronouncement and says that this is a step that he has to leap over or fall down trying. In other words, Macbeth says that Malcolm is in his way in his desire to become king and he must do something about that. Clearly, then, it is bad news to Macbeth to hear this pronouncement from Duncan. It also tells us that no matter how well Macbeth served Duncan in the recent battles, Duncan still prefers his son to his cousin and Thane, Macbeth.
In act1 sc.4 Duncan regards Macbeth first by welcoming him as 'O worthiest cousin'. He then shows his gratitude by saying that Macbeth far exceeds any compensation the king can offer him. Duncan goes further on to welcome Macbeth with these words:
" Welcome hither :
I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
To make thee full of growing"
Duncan announces that his eldest son, Malcolm, would be the Prince of Cumberland and the legitimate heir to the throne. This is significant because now Macbeth's chance of being elected as the future king of Scotland is ruled out. Now Macbeth has to adopt the other means to achieve his ambition:
[Aside] " The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap..".
As regards your question on Macbeth's soliloquy, let me know which soliloquy you refer to. Is it the soliloquy with which act1 sc.7 begins?