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

Macbeth: Hero or Villian?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Macbeth: hero or villain? The theme of Macbeth that I have chosen to explore is "Macbeth: hero or villain?" The question demands a decision on whether Macbeth is a villain, (as most people assume when reading the play), or is he in fact the misguided hero of the piece, one whose actions are misinterpreted. I intend to prove that he is the latter of these two, a misunderstood hero; a tragic hero. I feel Macbeth falls into the category of tragic hero, the definition of which can be defined as: "an honourable protagonist with a tragic flaw, also known as a fatal flaw, which eventually leads to his demise." Macbeth, at the outset of the play is portrayed as a good and brave soldier who has the respect of all who fight with him, an example of this is shown in Act 1 scene 2 where a captain reports: "For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name), disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valour's minion..." This demonstrates the respect for Macbeth that was held not only by this soldier but of the army, it also highlights that the man felt that Macbeth was brave as it uses the term "valour's minion" a literal interpretation of which is that Macbeth is a servant to courage. ...read more.

Middle

He then switches his thoughts to Duncan's virtues and imagines the awful reaction that would follow his murder. Nevertheless, although he tells Lady Macbeth that: "we will proceed no further in this business" There is no real conviction in his words as the only encouragement to follow this path is for Lady Macbeth to call him a coward. "...Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valour, As thou art in desire? ...And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting " dare not" wait upon "I would," When Macbeth kills Duncan he can be seen to be the villain of the piece as he murdered an innocent man over his own greed. Banquo who was with Macbeth when the witches made their prophecy is perhaps the only one with a true idea of the fate of his last king, this is shown in Act 3 Scene 1: "Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, as the weird women promised; and I fear you played most foully for't..." When Macbeth becomes King he reaches his own pinnacle of achievement. Macbeth is becoming very conniving and has decided that now he is the King he wants all those who may interfere with his crown eliminated. "To be thus is nothing but to be safely thus" This includes Banquo, his one time friend, he shows this when he says: "Our fears in Banquo...who's there?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Even in yielding to death he shows bravery as even though he realises that Macduff is going to kill him he still chooses to fight rather then be taken captive and executed as a traitor. In conclusion, Macbeth as the hero in this piece rouses little feelings of pity in the reader. He has the tragic flaw of being power-hungry, conniving and utterly immoral. A traditional tragic hero has our characteristics, Macbeth does not have two of these: he lacks goodness, it seems that all he does he does for himself or as a means of gaining for himself. He also is not superior as he was referred to by other thanes as a tyrant and incompetent ruler during his kingship. However at the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as great by several characters, including one in the elevated position of King. Macbeth can also be seen as a tragic hero as he dies at the end of the play and his death has a large impact on the people around him. Also he is in part responsible for his own downfall, in Macbeth's case this is because he chose to let his greed get the better of him. Finally Macbeth could be judged as a Shakespearean tragedy as other people die as part of a tragic chain of events, e.g. Duncan, and Banquo. Word count 1,715 ?? ?? ?? ?? Mrs Little - English Coursework February 2006 Hannah Johnston 11E 1 ...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: Hero or Villain?

    This shows that his mental stability is deteriorated. He follows the dagger and commits regicide. In Act 2, Scene 2 Macbeth comes out of Duncan's chamber after doing the 'deed'. He is holding on to the daggers and his hands are covered in blood. He looks down at his hands and says, "this is a sorry sight", his sorrow is very clear then.

  2. Macbeth- tragic hero or bloody tyrant?

    After Banquo leaves Macbeth brings in the murderers. You can tell that from what Macbeth says you no he has spoken to the murderers before, and he's already convinced them they should hate Banquo. And therefore managed to be persuaded that it was the right thing to do and so agreed to kill Banquo.

  1. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    On the battlefield Macbeth encounter Macduff, who declares that he was not "of woman born" but was " untimely ripped" from his mother's womb.

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

    The primary character has now fallen completely from grace. It seems as though his moral values, if any, were lost a long time ago, and now he has lost his compassion. Shut off from the world, he has sunk into his own world of hate, cruelty and empty feelings.

  1. Is Macbeth A Traditional Tragic Hero?

    He talk as if his ambition is a horse which is bound to fall down as it tries to jump to high. It also tells us that he is well aware of where his ambition could lead him, yet he still goes ahead with his plans with this knowledge in his mind.

  2. Is Macbeth a Shakespearean Tragic Hero?

    We see much evidence of the effect his conscience has on Macbeth after the murder of Duncan. "Is this a dagger which I see before me? The handle towards my hand?" This quotation conveys to the reader the extent of Macbeth's suffering.

  1. 'Macbeth is a hero whose ambition proves to be his downfall".

    It is again drawn to our attention how popular Macbeth is, and that maybe before his meeting with the witches he really was good, valiant and worthy. After this exclamation the Sergeant continues with his tale and explains how the Norwegian King restocks his weapons, brings in new supplies of men and begins a fresh assault.

  2. Examine/Analyse the character of Macbeth. Is he a tyrant or a tragic hero?

    Shake my fell purpose" Lady Macbeth is a Machiavellian, manipulative and corruptive influence upon Macbeth, and although her suggestions do, in fact, make him King, the unseen affect upon his conscience, is irreparable. The tragic hero in Macbeth is seen as he oscillates between deciding to kill Duncan, so as to become King, or let chance crown him.

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