• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is Macbeth truly an evil-tyrant, or is he a tragic hero?

Extracts from this document...


Is Macbeth truly an evil-tyrant, or is he a tragic hero? The first thing that we must take into account when analysing Macbeths character is that he is a normal human being, and like normal human beings, he has moments of weakness which when played upon can result in huge mistakes. The story of Macbeth is an example of power at the expense of everything else. He begins the play as a strong character, much admired and respected, and we witness his personality and actions become more and more deceitful which eventually leads to his destruction. The first thing we hear of Macbeth is people singing his praises. We hear the Captain say 'For Brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name...' and Duncan greeting him, 'O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.' Surely somebody so highly praised could not be an evil person...? Macbeth was an honourable gentleman with no criminal tendencies. With so many people praising his courageous fighting, he returns from a victorious battle, puffed-up with self-love that demands ever-increasing recognition of his greatness. The first flaw in his personality is that he takes the praise too much to heart and begins to believe that he deserves great rewards. When he then meets the weird sisters, they prey upon his new-found egotism, predicting his greatest dreams to be reachable. ...read more.


He was not born evil and until this point in his life, has never been evil. However, Lady Macbeth is a clever woman and knows what effect her words will have upon her husband. She deliberately hits him where she knows it will hurt him - questioning his manliness. When he tells her his decision to not kill him, she immediately uses every tactic she can think of to lure him into changing his mind. She uses descriptions such as 'green and pale' - e.g. sickly and weak to accuse him of cowardice and lack of manliness. She also bribes him with emotional blackmail, claiming that if he loved her he would do it and that she would rather kill her own baby than break a promise she had made to him. Using vicious imagery describing how she would rather '...have plucked her nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out', she convinces him to continue with the murder. I don't know about you, but if I had my true love using phrases like that to blackmail me into doing something, it is likely that I would buckle and give in. Macbeth is trying to keep his partner happy, rather than do it for his own benefit, which is another reason I believe that he is not an out-and-out villain, as we all possess the desire to please people. ...read more.


She says this as a command or a statement, showing her extreme bossiness over him. This shows us that his fantasy of being great and powerful is untrue, because he still basically is ruled and prepared to listen to her advice and is still not totally dismissive of her opinions. However much he wishes to believe that he is untouchable and brave, he is deeply fearful to the state of irrational, crazy behaviour when he witnesses Banquo's ghost. By the end of the play, we see the old Macbeth coming back through, the fair fighting warrior who will battle to his death... Even when he knows his time is up, he acts as a true soldier should - he fights to his death and refuses to kill Macduff saying 'My soul is too charged with the blood of thine already.' Does that sound like the words of a ruthless tyrant with no emotions...? It doesn't to me. I would sum up Macbeth as an unfortunate character who was led into the path of evil, and continued it through knowing that he had already committed the ultimate evil and nothing could undo it, or make it any worse. He buckled into the power his wife had over him and let his own ambitions get the better of him. An unfortunate trail of fate that led him to his own death... ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Macbeth: Tragic Hero or Villain?

    Macbeth's conscience still affects him greatly, he is very worried about what he has done. Macbeth is worried his evil deeds will be discovered so he goes to the witches again demanding answers. Once more, evil is associated with the supernatural as Macbeth is advised to beware Macduff.

  2. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    Macbeth is sick, unhappy and spiralling into the realms of evil. This is clearly evinced by his making use of low-life characters for his dirty work. A particularly cruel move on the central character's part is ordering that Fleance, along with his father, also be killed.

  1. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    Then one cried out "God bless us" and they both said 'Amen'. What troubled Macbeth was that he was unable to say 'Amen'. This is quite ironical because Macbeth has just committed murder and he expects to say 'Amen', which refers to all things good and right.

  2. Macbeth : a tragic hero or bloody tyrant?

    So far, Macbeth's character still corresponded to the characteristics of a tragic hero. We must see how his character developed. In the next scene, Macbeth met his wife, Lady Macbeth, who appeared to have thoroughly planned out Duncan's murder. She encouraged her husband to eliminate Duncan so that Macbeth, in the near future, would be entitled the king of Scotland.

  1. Macbeth - Evil Tyrant or Man of Conscience?

    But we have to think about it and realise that there are other factors too - it wasn't just Macbeth's fault. Its not just simply a matter of him deciding to kill Duncan on his own. It was Macbeth's ambition to become king and he's worked hard to get where he was at the start of the play.

  2. Macbeth- tragic hero or bloody tyrant?

    killing Duncan, The witches predictions all came true but they never told Macbeth of the consequences are he would have to pay. Initial opinion Hero or Tyrant? My initial opinion on the essay question whether he was a hero or a tyrant is that I think he was a tyrant

  1. Macbeth as a Tragic Hero

    Is he mad? Note how he treats his Servant in Act V, Sc.iii, and the Messenger in Act V, Sc. v. Does 'valiant fury' better describe his attitude? Is he raging against his Fate? In Act V, Sc. iii when he says "And that which should accompany old age, As

  2. Macbeth: Is he a hero or a villain?

    Even though he is a villain for murdering Duncan, a villain would have no regrets or conscience, so it could be said that he is still a hero. Lady Macbeth reacts after the murder of Duncan, when she faints.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work