The play, MacBeth, is enriched with many characters; each categorized in
different stages of Kollberg’s theory. Kollberg’s theory was about characters and their
moral development through out the story. There were only seven stages in his theory, 0-6,
zero meaning no morals, and six is being like Jesus. It is a short play without a major sub-
plot, and it is considered by many to be Shakespeare’s darkest work. In the play MacBeth,
Duncan is a stage four through out the play.
A stage four, according to Kollberg, is a character orientated toward authority and
maintenance of social order. A good example would be a police officer or a president. Up
until his demise Duncan was orderly king. He kept peace between the lords and other
countries as best as he could. Duncan was a beloved father and king to the Scottish
After the brutal battle between Duncan’s servants and the Thane of Cawdor’s
rebels, Duncan hears news that MacBeth fought with courage like no other. Duncan is so
pleased he makes MacBeth the new Thane of Cawdor.
No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest:–go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth. (Act I scene ii)
What a great guy Duncan is, he is like this threw the whole play. Because of MacBeth’s
great skill in battle, Duncan grants MacBeth to be the new Thane of Cawdor. Duncan
kept order by killing those who a-pose him, such as the late Thane of Cawdor.
At Duncan’s castle, the king, Malcolm and another of the king’s sons,
Donalbain, greet Macbeth and Banquo. Duncan announces that he will visit Macbeth at
the new Thane’s castle near Inverness, and then names his oldest son Malcolm as
successor to the throne. Macbeth says that he will go to Inverness in to prepare for the
king’s arrival. But in a stage aside, Macbeth speculates that Malcolm is an additional
obstacle of the throne as prophesied by the witches.
O worthiest cousin!
The sin of my ingratitude even now
Was heavy on me: thou art so far before,
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
To overtake thee.
Would thou hadst less deserv’d;
That the proportion both of thanks and payment
Might have been mine! only I have left to say,
More is thy due than more than all can pay. (Act I, Scene iv)
Through out his life in the play, Duncan has showed characteristics of a stage
four. Duncan was a kind king that didn’t deserve to die, especially by tyrant like
MacBeth. Duncan has shown that he was a lawful and orderly king through out his
remaining life. He has also shown signs of caring-ness. Stage 3 character, the all round
good boy, or in his case good king.