Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth

by

Susan King

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Donald Bán Character Analysis

The young son of Duncan and Lady Sybilla, and brother to Malcolm mac Duncan. Donald Bán is orphaned as a child after his mother dies in childbirth and his father is slain by Macbeth. Both Donald Bán and Malcolm are banished from Scotland, and grow up resentful of Macbeth, the man who stole their lives and father from them. Unlike his brother, Donald Bán does not rise up against Macbeth in adulthood, and disappears from the novel after his banishment.

Donald Bán Quotes in Lady Macbeth

The Lady Macbeth quotes below are all either spoken by Donald Bán or refer to Donald Bán . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Three Rivers Press edition of Lady Macbeth published in 2008.
Chapter 9  Quotes

At one point, King Malcolm himself carried his great-grandson and held him out to King Cnut. The prince, at two years old a sturdy handful, set up a lusty caterwauling, so that both men looked annoyed. Still, the message was clear: young Malcolm mac Duncan of Scotland had made a symbolic homage to the ruler of England.

And it was clear to those watching that in making his great-grandson pledge to England, old Malcolm was declaring that his line, grandson to son, would be kings hereafter. […]

The child’s mother, Lady Sybilla, stepped forward to take her boy from her father-by-law. I was among the retinue of women who walked with her, and she turned to give the squalling child to me. He struggled to get down, and I set him on his feet, taking his hand. He pulled me along rather like a ram dragging its shepherd. Others were amused, but I felt a strange sense, like a weight on my shoulders, on my soul.

And then, with a shudder, I knew it for an omen of the future—myself, and all of us gathered that day were linked to this moment as if by the tug of a heavy chain.

Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21  Quotes

“Your husband Macbeth will be remembered among the greatest of his ilk, the kings of Scotland,” she said. “One of your sons will be a warrior. Not the others.”

“Others,” I repeated, pleased. “Monks, then, or abbots? Bards, perhaps.”

“They will not be,” she murmured slowly, eyes very dark, “warriors.”

A shiver slipped down my spine. […]

“Carry this warning to your husband. I have told him the same, but tell him again from me. Beware the son of the warrior whose spilled blood will make him a king.”

I stared. Her cloak, when she turned, was a swirl of utter blackness, so that I stepped back for fear the portal to the other side, open that night, might overtake me.

I did not repeat her message to Macbeth.

Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 31 Quotes

Watching the prow of the boat surge through lapping waves, I knew that I had protected Malcolm from retaliation. By honoring my promise to his mother and following my own heart as a mother, I had prevented his murder as a boy. And he had returned, just as the mormaers had warned. I had brought this tragedy about.

But if that chance came again, I could not order the deaths of children. A devil’s bargain, that, to choose sin or grief. Closing my eyes, I rested my face in my hands and struggled, overcame a weeping urge. What I had done had been most rightful, though it came with a hard price. It was the way of things.

Page Number: 324
Explanation and Analysis:
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Donald Bán Character Timeline in Lady Macbeth

The timeline below shows where the character Donald Bán appears in Lady Macbeth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...Sybilla, wife of Duncan mac Crinan, who has two young sons, Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald Bán . Gruadh likes her, and the two women embrace as friends. Bodhe then calls Gruadh... (full context)
Chapter 22 
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...Sybilla asks Gruadh to promise that if she dies, Gruadh will watch over her children, Donald Bán and Malcolm mac Duncan. Gruadh agrees. (full context)
Chapter 24
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...in childbirth. She remembers her promise to watch over her children Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald Bán . Gruadh still has not told Macbeth about her oath, and wonders if she will... (full context)
Chapter 28 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...out that he is so young, the same age as young Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald Bán , and that they are children and no threat to Scotland. She urges the men... (full context)
Chapter 29 
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...six years earlier, and bested the Earl of Siward, uncle of Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald Bán , although the second battle left him with a limp. Now, in 1050, Gruadh discusses... (full context)
Chapter 31
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh also acknowledges that she almost singlehandedly saved the lives of Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald Bán , both because of her promise to Sybilla and her instincts as a mother. She... (full context)