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Compare ‘Macbeth and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as tragedies – which do you find more effective?

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Introduction

Compare 'Macbeth and 'Romeo and Juliet' as tragedies - which do you find more effective? Intro Admirable qualities Fate and supernatural Tragic hero Undeserved suffering Tragic flaw combined with a certain set of circumstances conc Aristotle suggests in his definition of a tragedy that the downfall and destruction of the protagonist is due to a character flaw combined with a certain set of circumstances which causes them to act a certain way. I will now examine to what extent the two plays comply with his theory. A tragic hero or heroine should have admirable qualities, which encourages the audience to pity them. Romeo and Juliet are likeable characters in the play, young and caught up in a web of love, which the audience may feel that they can relate to. Macbeth, on the hand, is not so typical of a tragic hero. This is because although at the beginning of the play he is a loyal, honourable soldier and husband, he quickly turns into to a vicious, desperate tyrant, driven by wild ambition. Macbeth is frightened yet intrigued by the witches' prophecies and wonders whether to act or see if they come true on their own. Macbeth is persuaded by his wife to murder the king, but feels anxious, guilty and ready to retreat from this treacherous act. However, the promise of power is too great. The story line of Romeo and Juliet is also very gripping not just the characters. This is because of the fact that it is love at first sight and the vast majority of the audience does want Romeo and Juliet's love to succeed. The situation made in the play was made to build up sympathy in the audience. During the course of the play the love between Romeo and Juliet is a hard situation for the both of them. Already at the start the families of Romeo and Juliet are ancient rivals and enemies, but if that wasn't hard enough Romeo was banished from Verona and Juliet ...read more.

Middle

However, when Macduff tells him to 'despair thy charm' and reveals that he 'was from his mothers womb untimely ripped', Macbeth suddenly becomes resigned when facing death, even if it is after a spell of despair and cowardliness. He agrees to fight with Macduff till the last even though he will die. He was told by the witches to 'beware Macduff', so he is almost reconciled to his unavoidable death. Yet the element of him that is a soldier has emerged; he will not die a coward, he will fight to the last, even though there is no hope. It is now obvious that Macbeth fits the classical definition of a tragic hero; he has high social status; he reveals many primary truths about mankind and humanity through his suffering and he has a great, noble character which is tragically wasted through circumstance. His otherwise great personality has a tragic flaw, which ultimately leads to his destruction; and he is resigned to his inevitable death, exhibiting his truly heroic side. However, in my eyes he is neither heroic nor tragic; only selfish, feeble and insatiable, although that is judging him by the standards of today, and not in the context in which he was written. Romeo is not, in my opinion, a tragic hero in the traditional sense of the word. He is not of high rank and he does not have a tragic flaw. However, the play could be a tragedy of youth and of circumstances conspiring against young love. Juliet is strong because it is she who proposes to Romeo and defies her father and mother. Juliet tells them she won't marry Paris and she doesn't. She is brave enough to go through with a secret marriage against her parents' wishes and to go through with the Friar's plans. Most of all, the young lover is brave enough to stab herself. So, is Romeo the hero? ...read more.

Conclusion

He became in the end what he set out to destroy in the beginning. Because of "vaulting ambition", Macbeth's character flaw destroyed him in the end. 'Macbeth' fulfils my expectations of a Shakespearean tragedy as it follows all the factors given by Aristotle. 'Macbeth' leaves a feeling of catharsis in its audience as I felt upset by the events of the story yet was left with a feeling that it was for the better as evil had been defeated (Macbeth) and good had overcome it (Malcolm). Scotland was a happier place after Macbeth had been defeated. Order was restored and Malcolm brought harmony back to Scotland as he was rightfully king because he was the son of Duncan. I personally found 'Macbeth' quite a tragic story as there is a lot if suffering and many people are killed. 'Romeo and Juliet' has elements of tragedy. Young, innocent lovers die, through no fault of their own. The play does not show the common pattern of tragedy, a person of high rank falling to death. Instead it shows the deaths of two protagonists, young and hasty, caught in a web only partly of their own making. But if it were not for the sombre Prologue, Romeo and Juliet would seem very much a comedy until the unexpected, almost accidental death of Mercutio. The second one tells him that, "no man of woman born shall harm Macbeth", and another says, "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him." This gives him security, which, "is mortals' chieftest enemy", as Hjecate states; and in this security comes his death. The daughters of Satan were powerful, yet powerless. They could no directly have killed the king, but they did introduce the thoughts into Macbeth's head. So, the supernatural did have a profound effect on the natural world, but perhaps Shakespeare wanted the witches and their powers to symbolise the darkness and iniquity that can be found in the depths of man. One thing is certain, these powers were what caused the whole tragedy of Macbeth. ...read more.

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