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Macbeth as a Tragic Hero

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Hui Michael Hui Ms. Pitaro ENG3U1e November 30, 2012 Macbeth the Tragic Hero In Shakespeare?s Macbeth, Macbeth assumes the role of the tragic hero. Shakespeare successfully instills a sense of sympathy in the audience, but gradually destroys this empathy as the play advances. He evokes the overwhelming nature of ambition and its ability to destroy the human heart if it is not checked by reason and restraint. Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as a man of greatness and loyalty who is influenced greatly by his deep desires. He is thrust into evil and malice as he assumes the role of the tyrannical ruler of Scotland. Shakespeare establishes sympathy for Macbeth throughout the play, specifically during the most pitiful moment that leads to his death. Ultimately, Macbeth is the victim of his fatal flaw of ambition, Lady Macbeth?s influence, and the witches? deception, which lead to his unequivocal downfall. The untainted Macbeth possesses a true and loyal nature, which is exemplified through his noble thoughts and actions. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is fighting on the battlefield for the honour of his king. ...read more.


After hearing that he has received the title of Thane of Cawdor, he notices that ?Two truths are told, / As happy prologues to the swelling act / Of the imperial theme? (1.3.137-139). Macbeth sees the apparent accuracy in the witches? first two predictions, which causes him to contemplate the accuracy of the last prophecy. He is first introduced to the idea of ultimate power, which allows his mind to wander through the terrible possibilities. Lady Macbeth is the greatest influence on Macbeth that causes him to embrace his lust for power. She convinces Macbeth to go through with the murder as he contemplates it, stating that he ?live[s] like a coward in [his] own esteem /? like the poor cat i? the adage? (1.7.46-48). Lady Macbeth successfully mocks Macbeth?s courage and manhood through her emasculating comments. She compares Macbeth to a poor cat to provoke him, causing him to let go of his inner inhibitions and to go through with the murder. Again, Macbeth?s ambition is being pushed forward by the witches? prophecies and Lady Macbeth?s mockery. ...read more.


The heartless massacre does not benefit Macbeth at all. He is no longer focusing solely on power, but he is committing evil as he pleases. In murdering the innocent wife and children out of pure fury, Macbeth becomes the epitome of evil. He reveals the tyranny that has manifested in his soul. Shakespeare completely eliminates the fleeting sense of sympathy for the seemingly monstrous Macbeth. Macbeth?s deviation from goodness fully destroys his character and eliminates his previous image. The audience does not sympathize with Macbeth, but experiences a sense of relief with the coming of his death. In Shakespeare?s Macbeth, Macbeth is truly considered a tragic hero. He is originally a good-natured and loyal soldier that is willing to give up his life to protect his king. However, a multitude of factors, such as the witches? prophecies and his wife?s mocking, lead to his soul?s degeneration. These influences spark the manifestation of ambition and allow evil to permeate in Macbeth?s soul. Through Macbeth?s actions, he is plunged into corruption and inhumanity. Consequently, he is unable to return to innocence. Ultimately, Macbeth is the tragic hero who is victim to his growing ambition, which destroys his humanity and any sympathy Shakespeare initially establishes. ...read more.

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