What two views of manhood are presented in Act 1 of Macbeth?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth is an example of one of the views of manhood in Act I, he is a courageous soldier who has distinguished himself on the battlefield, confronting the enemies of the King with great bravery.  He is rewarded by the Duncan for his devotion, loyalty and willingness to fight for King and country.

Here manhood is defined by bravery in battle, fearlessness when facing a fierce enemy, a willingness to die for one's beliefs.  All these characteristics describe Macbeth in the early acts of the play. 

In Act I, Scene IV, King Duncan expresses his gratitude to Macbeth. The King desires to reward Macbeth telling him that he cannot ever really repay him for what he has done on the battlefield.  Duncan also tells him that his son Malcolm has been elevated to Prince of Cumberland, and now he wishes to celebrate Macbeth.

Duncan provides a wonderful example of how a just and right king should behave.  He is grateful, gracious and not intimidated by the idea of rewarding those who deserve praise.  Duncan is secure in his reign as king, he does not have to protect his position by keeping others down, below him.  Duncan exemplifies what manhood is in a true leader.  A true leader acknowledges the sacrifice and service of others.  He respects this service, rewards it and allows the individual to ascend in the ranks.