How and why was Macbeth well liked or respected at the beginning of the play Macbeth?

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At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is revered for his courageous exploits and valiant effort on the battlefield. In act one, King Duncan receives the news that Macbeth and Banquo defeated Macdonwald's army, the Thane of Cawdor, and the Norwegians. King Duncan is astonished and pleased with Macbeth's efforts...

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At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is revered for his courageous exploits and valiant effort on the battlefield. In act one, King Duncan receives the news that Macbeth and Banquo defeated Macdonwald's army, the Thane of Cawdor, and the Norwegians. King Duncan is astonished and pleased with Macbeth's efforts and leadership on the battlefield, which motivates him to present Macbeth with the title Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth's defense of Scotland and loyalty to King Duncan are admirable traits and his character is initially portrayed as a devoted, capable general. Shortly after his victories, Macbeth receives several favorable prophecies from the Three Witches and his ambitious nature awakens, which motivates him to contemplate murdering the king. It is important to remember that Macbeth's revered status and potential for greatness are what defines him as a tragic hero, whose fatal flaw leads to his unfortunate downfall.

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One reason why Macbeth is respected and well-liked by King Duncan is that Macbeth had proven his prowess in battle.  He was very instrumental in helping King Duncan defeat a rebel, Macdonwald, who had Irish spies.  The sargeant who reports Macbeth's heroic deeds to the audience during the play does so in glowing terms:

"For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution," (I.ii.)

Through this description, Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as both a warrior and a hero.  Moreover, Macbeth also defeated another traitor to the crown, the Thane of Cawdor who had been allied with the Norwegians, who were attacking Scotland at the start of the play.  Macbeth's powerful defeat of the thane of Cawdor leads to an all-around victory for the Scots against the Norwegian king. 

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