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Can Macbeth Be Described As a Shakespearean Tragic Hero?

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Introduction

CAN MACBETH BE DESCRIBED AS A SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGIC HERO? Vicky Bishop A Shakespearean tragic hero is described as a man who has many good qualities, shows regret for his crimes and is of high birth and position. At the start of the play Macbeth has all the qualities of a tragic hero as he fights for King Duncan and kills their enemy Macdonwald. In Act 1 Scene 2 Duncan says, "Nobel Macbeth hath won" recognizing Macbeth's heroism he is titled Thane of Cawdor. At the end of the play Macbeth is described as a devil, he is overcome by ambition and determined to succeed. This has a disastrous effect on him and this one flaw in his character brings his downfall. All the people that surround can see that he has changed. He is no longer a hero but an evil villain and this is the way that people think of him. In Act 1 Scene 3 Malcolm describes Macbeth as "black Macbeth" and in Act 5 Scene 8 Macduff calls him "a hell-hound". ...read more.

Middle

Another point of weakness for Macbeth is the killing of Banquo and his son Fleance. He cannot bring himself to do the deed himself and so employs men to carry out the act for him. In this play Macbeth commits horrific acts of evil, in cold blood he murders Duncan, a murder that Macduff describes is Act 2 Scene 3 as, "most sacrilegious murder". He then orders the murder of Banquo and his son Fleance. The murderer then comes back in Act 3 Scene 4 to tell Macbeth that Banquo is "safe in a ditch he bides, with twenty trenched gashes on his head". Then Macbeth murders Macduffs innocent family, his children, wife and everyone else at his home. In Act 4 Scene 2 Macduff's son is killed as he attempts to save his mother, as he is dying he says, "he has killed me, mother, run away, I pray you". At the end of the play Macbeth looses all his friends. They realize that he was responsible for the horrific murders and that he has changed. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth therefore shows he has the making of a tragic hero. However, as the play unravels a dark and sinister side of Macbeth becomes apparent. He has a flaw, that of blind ambition. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants, the title of King. He would not have ever dreamed that this could ever have come about if not for the prediction of the witches. This was Macbeth's downfall, that he now thought it possible that he could aspire to become King. He would allow nothing or no one to stand in his way, he believed it his destiny. The encouragement of Lady Macbeth made it so much easier for him to carry out the dreadful deeds needed to attain his ambition. This change of character resulted in his demise. The audience can not forgive him this selfish and immoral defect in his character. Anyone who could kill a friend and the entire family of another deserves a bloody end. Justice prevails at the end. So while Macbeth was in some respects a tragic hero he does not retain the sympathy and respect of the audience throughout the play. ...read more.

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