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Discuss the idea that Macbeth is a typical Tragic Hero.

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Introduction

Discuss the idea that Macbeth is a typical Tragic Hero. A tragedy is a story, which involves a main character of high status. The plot leads up to and includes the death of this character that is commonly known as the tragic hero. Throughout the story we hear of many traumatic events which cause suffering to all those involved. The suffering is extreme and always affects the tragic hero and those that surround him. The calamity that befalls the character contrasts to previous happiness and glory. Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' is a famous tragedy concerning the fate of the character Macbeth. He appears initially as a great soldier who is admired by his king and his countrymen and feared by his enemies. Duncan calls him, 'valiant cousin' and 'worthy gentleman' and we hear how he defeated the Norwegians despite their having a greater army. His noble position is clear and we are left to question what makes such a man commit such evil and disloyal acts. 'Macbeth' traces the downfall of the character from great warrior to 'dead butcher'. In the opening scenes we meet the three witches and immediately the audience believe that the devil is at work in Scotland. ...read more.

Middle

She is a strong minded and forceful woman who manipulates Macbeth by questioning his love for her and his bravery. She is convinced that Macbeth is, '...too full o' th'milk of human kindness' to commit the murder and when he questions that they may fail she naively reassures him that this is impossible and remarks, 'screw your courage to the sticking place'. The audience would have been shocked as they watched her call upon evil spirits to 'unsex' her. She gladly welcomed evil into her life and wishes to rid herself of all feminine qualities. We feel that Macbeth has a greater awareness that what he is doing is wrong. He thinks of the consequences and even states that a good king and he should be loyal. 'Who should against the murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself' He battles with his thoughts and imagines a dagger before him. The hallucination shows him what he is about to do and clarifies his inner thoughts but at any moment he can refuse to continue. If he had no choices then he would not be a Tragic Hero he would merely be out of control. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also gives orders to have Macduff's family brutally murdered. He is no longer the loyal warrior but a suspicious and ruthless tyrant. His friends and comrades desert him and he feels that his position as King is shallow and empty. He sees himself as the winter-stricken tree, 'I have lived long enough....my way of life is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf' As the Burnham wood draws closer to Dunsinane, Macbeth realises that the witches have been speaking in ambiguous terms. He realises that death awaits him as Macduff reveals that he was a caesarean baby. The audience see a glimmer of Macbeth's former self as he wishes to die bravely in battle but know that he has to die in order for Scotland to be purged. Macbeth's reign was seen as an infection, slowly spreading across the whole of the country; with his death moral order can be restored and there is a sense of Divine Justice. God has once more intervened and the audience can leave the theatre with a sense of relief. They also feel a sense of pity that the man that could have been so great fell so tragically to become a 'dead butcher'. ...read more.

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