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Is Macbeth loathsome or heroic or a mixture of the two in the final act of the play?

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Introduction

Is Macbeth loathsome or heroic or a mixture of the two in the final act of the play? Macbeth meets most of the requirements necessary to be classed as a Shakespearean tragic hero. He is noble, courageous and brave, but unlike a tragic hero, Macbeth is very reluctant to meet his death in the final act of the play. The first line of the final act, 'They have tied me to a stake,' tells us that Macbeth cannot or will not escape. A 'stake' reminds us of sharp, pointed edges, which would suggest a violent death. He says that he 'Must fight the course', showing that he is prepared and confident for all that is approaching him. After the murder of Young Siward, Macbeth says that 'Weapons laugh to scorn', which strongly portrays his loathsomeness. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth admits that he is already suffering from guilt, due to other crimes. This implies that Macbeth is not completely loathsome and does have some humane characteristics. Although he has murdered many people, he is feeling guilt; something that inhumane creatures would be unaware of. This helps us to feel pity on him, which also fits the criteria of being a tragic hero. A hero must be highly respected and seen as important. He must also be from a noble background. It is evident that Macbeth fits this description, as he is has held many titles, including being the King. Earlier in the play, Macbeth is described as 'My noble partner'. A partner is a friend and someone that you can trust, which Macbeth failed to be in many cases. This is clear, when Macbeth calls Banquo 'a friend', but ironically has him killed later on in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would be as though Macbeth is worshipping Malcolm; the man who is about to kill him. Shakespeare uses the word 'young' to describe Malcolm, which would suggest that Macbeth is reluctant to be defeated by a man who is less experienced than himself. Macbeth tells Malcolm that he 'will try the last'. It appears that Macbeth is incredibly stubborn and refuses to accept that he is about to die. Macbeth shows many signs of being loathsome and disgusting throughout the play, but not completely. Although he has committed some terribly unacceptable crimes, Macbeth does still show signs of humanity; the main one being guilt. He also fits nearly all of the necessary criteria to be a Shakespearean tragic hero. In my view, Macbeth is loathsome, but this is one of the reasons that causes him to be a tragic hero. His loathsomeness makes Macbeth evil and stubborn. It is the reason for not accepting his fate, therefore I think that Macbeth is a mixture of the two. ...read more.

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