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

Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

Extracts from this document...


Nicola Horgan Macbeth: Hero or Villain? The first time in the play we hear about Macbeth is in the very first scene. The witches are discussing when they shall next meet again, and one of the witches says 'There to meet with Macbeth'. We are yet to read about Macbeth to discover his character but because of this scene we know somehow he is or will be associated with some kind of evil. Although when we read this nowadays we do not get frightened by this fact but in the sixteenth century when this play was written the audience would have been as they believed in witchcraft. The second time we hear about Macbeth is in scene two. In this scene he is described by a Captain, he describes him 'brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name'. The captain says this as Macbeth has defended the rebellion of Highlanders and Islanders. We still haven't heard Macbeth himself but we have two conflicting opinions of him. The first time we hear from Macbeth is in scene three. As the witches said, he met them on the heath. He is with Banquo, his best friend. He is greeted by the witches and they greeted him 'All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis' they also say Thane of Cawdor and then the third witch says 'All hail Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter'. ...read more.


while it was smiling in my face have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this'. I think the baby she describes is maybe a child that they lost, as we do not hear of this child apart from this in the play. I think she used the child as an example in her promise as it is something that they both feel strongly for and it brings them closely together. Before Lady Macbeth talks Macbeth into backing out of killing, in his soliloquy in Act one scene seven, Macbeth shows his conscience, he feels he doesn't want to go ahead with the murder, although when he talks about killing Duncan he never mentions the word 'murder'. At this point we still don't really know if Macbeth is a villain or hero yet. Lady Macbeth was suppose to carry out the murder but she saw Duncan sleeping and said that she could not do it as he looked like his father, this shows that she in not totally evil either. Macbeth hallucinates a dagger pointing towards Duncan's chamber before his murder showing he is unstable mentally and maybe nervous. These nerves make him kill the two guards that slept with Duncan and over react when the murder is revealed. ...read more.


In Act five scene four Lady Macbeth kills herself. At the start of the play Macbeth and his wife seem very close, but when she dies Macbeth is not moved in any way he shows no emotion at all, he is cold as if he has hardened to people dying. He says 'she should have died hereafter'. His life seems meaningless; he doesn't care for anything or anyone anymore, not even his wife. The army that are attacking his castle carry bits of trees from Birnam wood - Birnam wood seems to be moving. Now I thing this shows that his superstition has really ruined him. He seems to know he is going to die, he says 'At least we will die with harness on our backs', he wants to die a solider - but as the witches said no man of woman born can kill him. When the army attacks the castle he fights Macduff - it is then Macbeth finds out that Macduff was born of caesarean - I think now Macbeth is puzzled; should he carry on fighting or just give up? Macbeth's last words are 'Hold, enough!' He almost seems childlike and in a last grasp for breath he shouts this. Ultimately Macbeth is a villain, but factors that helped to bring out these feelings are his wife, his own ambition and the fact that he was too quick to believe to witches and too trusting. Macbeth may have been a hero but he died a villain. ...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. How and why does Macbeth change from hero to villain?

    idea of him becoming king with a plan in which they tell him half-truths, so that he will succumb to believing the false half of the lie since the latter half is true. During the third scene of Act I, Macbeth and Banquo, his friend, come across the three witches,

  2. Macbeth - Victim or Villain?

    Macbeth is broken up because of what he has done and whilst he is still suffering from the shock his wife tells him to go and smear blood on the "sleepy grooms" to make it look as though they murdered the king, but he replies: "I'll go no more, I am afraid to think of what I have done".

  1. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    This is when Macbeth's dark side surface. Macbeth decides to kill the king and to get rid of the Prince, whom he only thinks of as an obstacle, not a human. "The prince of Cumberland: that is a step on which I must fall down, or else o'er leap".

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

    All hail Macbeth that shalt be King hear after!' Macbeth is a fool to believe what the witches' say. He partly believes the predictions because he wanted to believe them. 'The instruments of darkness tell us truths; win us with honest trifles, to betrays in deepest consequence.' This shows he is gullible and it could suggest him to be a villain as he follows his ambition.

  1. Is Macbeth a hero or a villain?

    When Lady Macbeth committed suicide. Macbeth did not even care. He said "she should have died hereafter." (Act 5 scene 5 line 17) Macbeth is such a evil person, Duncan came to sleep in Macbeth's house and he committed the murder in his own house.

  2. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    She desires the kingship and wanted Macbeth to murder Duncan in order to obtain the kingship. This showed how ambitious she was. When she waits for the arrival of king Duncan at her castle, she says " unsex me here...come to my women's breasts, and take my milk for gall" in Act One, Scene 5.

  1. Macbeth: Hero or villain? Discuss.

    Even though the witches say Macbeth will be king of Scotland, they do not suggest that h kill King Duncan to achieve this. Their words are for Macbeth to interpret. Macbeth does not have to follow his desires and ambitions; he could resist it, making him a better man, but

  2. How has Shakespeare used key speeches to show Macbeth’s flawed and changing character? ...

    In the first scene the witches discuss when they shall meet again; "When the hurlyburly's done, when the battle's lost and won." (Act 1 Scene 1, Lines 3-4) This alerts the audience that there will be something interesting and exciting coming up in the play.

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