Act 1, Scene 2: brave Macbeth

Macbeth is a brave and loyal warrior

Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is set in a Scottish military camp. King Duncan and his sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, are informed by a sergeant that Macbeth has defeated a rebel army consisting of the Irish, the Norwegians, and a Scottish traitor named the thane of Cawdor. 

This scene is the first time in the play that we get some information about Macbeth, although we do not meet him in person yet. We learn that Macbeth is a skilled and valiant warrior who is loyal to his king. This is indicated through the positive words which the other characters use about him. For instance, the sergeant refers to him as “brave Macbeth” (1.2.18), and Duncan calls him his “valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!” (1.2.26). Duncan’s remark also informs us that Macbeth is the King’s relative.

Macbeth’s many qualities are also shown through the sergeant’s description of Macbeth’s actions during the battle. Describing how Macbeth killed the rebel leader, Macdonwald, the sergeant says that “he unseam’d him from the nave to the chops” (1.2.24). This is...

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