English Macbeth: Duncan quotations Act 1

Scene 2 Duncan: “What bloody man is that?” This quotation introduces the motif of blood, which is continued throughout Macbeth. The motif of blood not only represents the guilt and anguish that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth feel but also the utter brutality of murder. Moreover Duncan will become the ‘bloody man’, so it may be foreshadowing his eventual death. Additionally, in 1605, the year before Macbeth was devised, the gun powder plot occurred, implying that life under the King was a state of fear leading Shakespeare to explore the reality of regicide through Macbeth.
Scene 2 Duncan: “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman!”Scene 4 Duncan: “O worthiest cousin,” & “My worthy Cawdor.” The emphatic use of positive and admiring adjectives foreshadows Macbeth’s tragic downfall, once being a dauntless and loyal subject, to one who falls from grace into deceit and deception. It additionally creates a sense of dramatic irony as Macbeth soon after resolves to murder Duncan to claim the crown as his own. Moreover the consistent repetition of “worthy”, highlights an underlying tone of possible resentment or jealousy; from Duncan’s point of view.
Scene 2 Duncan: “What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won.” This paradox exemplifies the irony in that Macbeth, who has received great honours for his loyalty, his courage, his bravery and his nobility in comparison to at the conclusion of the play the only respect he has is simply in consequence of the fear that his subjects hold in suspicion of his violent nature.
Scene 4 Duncan: “He was a gentleman on whom I built /: An absolute trust.” Duncan’s frustration and disappointment at the previous Thane of Cawdor’s treachery foreshadows the current Thane of Cawdor’s (Macbeth’s) betrayal, additionally creating a sense of dramatic irony in that Macbeth is contemplating Duncans’s murder as he speaks.
Scene 4 Duncan: “This castle hath a pleasant seat. The air /: Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself /: Unto our gentle senses.” Duncan’s positive description of the castle creates a large sense of dramatic irony for the audience, who recognise that he has unknowingly led himself into a death trap, like a lamb to the slaughter. This emphasises Duncan’s innocence, further casting Macbeth as a brutal and violent character, whose tragic flaw of ambition caused him to become almost inhumane. The adjective, “gentle”, directly contrasts to the previous scene in which both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were plotting Duncan’s ruthless murder.

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