King Duncan is a fictional character in Shakespeare's Macbeth. He is the father of two youthful sons (Malcolm and Donalbain), and the victim of a well-plotted regicide in a power grab by his trusted captain Macbeth. The origin of the character lies in a narrative of the historical Duncan I of Scotland in Raphael Holinshed's 1587 The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, a history of Britain familiar to Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Unlike Holinshed's incompetent King Duncan (who is credited in the narrative with a "feeble and slothful administration"), Shakespeare's King Duncan is crafted as a sensitive, insightful, and generous father-figure whose murder grieves Scotland and is accounted the cause of turmoil in the natural world.
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