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“‘Macbeth’ is a play without a hero”. Discuss this quotation. Begin with your definition of a hero remembering to include the definition of a tragic hero. This question is not exclusively about Macbeth.

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Introduction

9 march 2001 Lindsay Stephens "'Macbeth' is a play without a hero". Discuss this quotation. Begin with your definition of a hero remembering to include the definition of a tragic hero. This question is not exclusively about Macbeth. A hero is a man of superhuman qualities favoured by the Gods, an illustrious warrior, one who has fought for his country and is admired for his achievements and noble qualities. I am going to measure up some of the main characters against these guidelines to see if 'Macbeth' really is a play without a hero. I'm also going to measure each character up against the definition of a "tragic" hero who is a person that evokes both our sympathy and terror because he is usually a man of high position who falls from greatness due to an internal weakness or an outside influence. Banquo is a good soldier, he is honourable and even though he isn't praised as much as Macbeth he is much respected and happy. We know this for when Duncan tells him "I have begun to plant thee, and will labour To make thee full of growing" And Banquo replies "There if I grow the harvest is your own." ...read more.

Middle

Whilst all the other thanes are happy to attend the banquet Macduff refuses to go and so infuriates Macbeth. He shows us that he is quite unintelligent not only by angering Macbeth by also by leaving his wife and children unprotected when he goes to England, which results in fatal consequences. Macduff loves his country and this is shown to a great extent in the English scene. His loyalty to his country is very strong and when Malcolm convinces him that he would make a worse king than Macbeth he really believes that "(Scotland's) hope ends (t)here!" One very important point is that Macduff was the man to kill Macbeth and free Scotland. I don't think that Macduff can be classified as a hero because of the mistakes that he made. The first time we meet Malcolm we learn that he was almost captured in battle. This immediately makes me think he is not a very good soldier, which is something all heros must be. He is soon after made the Prince of Cumberland and we don't see him again till Duncan's body is discovered. He and his brother decide to flee to England which immediately throws suspicion on them thus letting Macbeth carry on the pretence of his innocence for longer. ...read more.

Conclusion

The next point is that a tragic hero is someone who could be a hero except for his one fatal fault and Macbeth's is his ambition. If Macbeth was not ambitious he would never have killed Duncan and the events that happened after would never have taken place. He knows his only motive to kill Duncan is his Ambition and he admits this is Act One Scene Seven, when he says "I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition" Finally, the last definition of a tragic hero is one of high position who falls from greatness due to internal weakness and outside influence. Macbeth fits this description perfectly from "Valour's minion" to "dead butcher", because of his ambition and a little push in the 'wrong' direction from the external influence provided by the witches and his wife, I definitely think Macbeth can be classified as a tragic hero. In conclusion I agree with the statement "'Macbeth' is a play without a hero". There are lots of good characters in this play but they all have their weaknesses and to make a hero you would have to take all of their good points and put them together. ...read more.

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