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Does Macbeth furfill the role of the classical tragic hero? How far is he responsible for his own death and downfall?

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Introduction

Does Macbeth fur fill the role of the classical tragic hero? How far is he responsible for his own death and downfall? The first impression that we receive about Macbeth's character is that he is a man of action, one of whom is likeable and respected by the rest of society. We hear a lot about Macbeth before he comes onto the stage, from the captain and from Duncan who also speaks about Macbeth's courage in the battle: 'What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won' (Act 1, scene 2, line 67). We know that one way or another Macbeth is associated with the witches, and we feel that this can't be good as the witches are all agents of evil: 'There to meet with Macbeth' (Act 1, scene 1, line 8). Before Macbeth's fall, the audience think that Macbeth is linked with the witches, which gives the audience suspicion. Macbeth is liked to the witches by the language he uses: 'So foul and fair a day I have not seen' (Act 1, scene 3, line 46). This is a comparison to the words of the witches: 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair' (Act 1, scene 1, line 12), yet still, those around him believe he is a good and splendid warrior, and a faithful subject of Duncan. ...read more.

Middle

The audience can clearly see that Macbeth is going mad, he is given into the temptation and the audience think: ' NO! NO!' when Macbeth goes ahead with the killing of Duncan. 'I have done the deed' (Act 2, scene 2, line 14). Macbeth now has to act many parts when the body of Duncan is discovered, and he must appear as if he is appalled by the murder. He tries to show that he is a worthy ruler who is distressed by what has happened, but we can see that he is becoming more and more bloodthirsty. It is apparent that Macbeth's life is splitting and falling apart, causing a tragic flaw and a downfall as he has done wrong. Even though Macbeth is the king, now that Duncan is dead, and that the witches prophecy was correct, he has nothing, no friends and he is not taking the advice from Banquo. When it is Macbeth's first appearance since he has been made king, he plays the part of host and friends but he is not successful at this. He thinks that killing Banquo and Fleance will make him safer. He is especially frightened of his best friend Banquo and full of resentment towards him. ...read more.

Conclusion

At times I do feel sorry for Macbeth i.e. when he saw Banquo's ghost, as from this stage it is clear to us that Macbeth is going mad, and this new found bravery and power in his character has turned into a flaw on his part. Macbeth's character develops and changes. When he starts at the beginning of the play, he is a classical tragic hero, and towards the end of the play he becomes too greedy for power. When we initially meet Macbeth, he is defined by his courage in the battle, and when we last hear of him, his courage is at stake. The courage he shows in facing Macduff in the final scene does, however, suggest a hero as well. Therefore, he faces Macduff but not because he has courage, but maybe he was frightened of what people would think of him, or perhaps he faces Macduff not out of courage but one out of loyalty. Macbeth is the perfect example of a classical tragic hero. He goes through all the stages, such as a noble birth, which leads to a position of great dignity and honour, to then committing sinful acts to put him into darkness. This darkness therefore leading him to his downfall and death. 1 ...read more.

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