Knowing Macbeth‟s secret hopes and thoughts, the alert audience and reader will appreciate the dramatic irony in many of Duncan‟s utterances.

Note Duncan‟s statement about the traitor Cawdor: “There‟s no art/To find the mind‟s construction in the face” (I.iv.11-12). Then note the greeting to Macbeth which immediately follows. What dramatic irony does Shakespeare provide here?

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Duncan is not the best judge of character. By the time he laments about being deceived by the Thane of Cawdor, we know that Macbeth is spinning a similar treachery in his own head. Of course, as he was with Cawdor, Duncan is still clueless about what Macbeth has in store for him.