Duryodhana seems to not care about the low birth of Karna and is the only one to vocally support Karna candidature in the archery contest without caring about caste inequality. When Kripa humiliated Karna in the martial exhibition, Duryodhana immediately defended Karna, and made him king of Anga. Karna pledges his allegiance and friendship to Duryodhana, as Duryodhana had rescued him from a source of continuing humiliation and hardship. Neither of them knows that Karna is in fact Kunti’s oldest son, born to (sun god) Surya. When Draupadi refuses to allow Karna to string the bod at her Swayamvara because of his low birth, Duryodhana defends him saying “great sages, philosophers, and warriors have no source. They are made great, not born great”.
Another incident, is when knowing Sahadeva’s ability as an astrologer, Duryodhana asked him to fix Muhurtha time for commencement of war.
A Great Warrior
He strictly adheres to his duties as a Kshatriya, and even in his last combat, fights bravely. He chooses to face Bhima in combat over all the other Pandavas, whom he could have easily defeated in war.
As Duryodhana is about to die, he looks at Krishna malevolently. “I have been a good king,” he says. “I have conducted myself as a Kshatriya should and have come by death in battle. I’ll die and attain heaven, but you will live in grief and sorrow.”
Duryodhana was a skilled strategist. He managed to win the pledge of King Shalya, who was actually the maternal uncle of Pandavas, to fight on his side in battle of Kurukshetra. It so happened that while King Shalya was moving with his army to go and support Yudhishthira, he and his force were looked after extremely well en route. Floored by the hospitality, Shalya offered complete support to the host thinking it was Yudhishthira. Only later did he discover that Duryodhana was the person behind the hospitality, and was thus indebted to him. Duryodhana wanted Shalya mainly so that Karna would have an equivalent charioteer to Arjuna’s Krishna.