In what way is Duncan's speech in 1.4.61-65 of "Macbeth" an example of dramitic irony?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the end of act 4, scene 1, King Duncan and Banquo are about to follow Macbeth to Macbeth's castle, where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth will host the king. At this point in the play, the king thinks very highly of Macbeth, because Macbeth was instrumental in winning the war for him. Duncan says to Banquo:

True, worthy Banquo. He is full so valiant,
And in his commendations I am fed;
It is a banquet to me.—Let’s after him,
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
It is a peerless kinsman.
Dramatic irony is when the audience know something that one or more of the characters on stage do not. At this point in the play, Duncan thinks that Macbeth is valiant, meaning brave, determined, and heroic. The audience, however, has just heard Macbeth, in act 1, scene 3, ask himself:
Why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature?
In this scene, Macbeth has just heard from the witches that one day he will be king, and in this...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 836 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team