What are two examples of dramatic irony in Act I, Scene 4 of Macbeth?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 1, Scene 4 of Macbeth, King Duncan meets Macbeth for the first time since the great battle. Duncan expresses his boundless gratitude for Macbeth's indispensable help against the enemy and concludes by saying, rather ironically:

Only I have left to say,
More is they due than more than all can pay.

This is ironic because the audience knows full well that Macbeth is thinking of taking everything away from Duncan. It is almost as if Duncan knows Macbeth's intentions and is unconsciously giving him permission to do it.

Macbeth's reply is loaded with irony. He tells the King:

The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it pays itself.

Macbeth is saying just the opposite of what the audience knows he is thinking.