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" Macbeth is a villain with heroic qualities. How far do you agree?"

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Introduction

Macbeth Coursework. Katy Proud " Macbeth is a villain with heroic qualities. How far do you agree?" Macbeth is a man fearless warrior and a lord who will defend his king. However ambition is his fatal weakness. He allows the witches prophecy and then his wife's ambition for him to undermine his integrity. Macbeths character could be construed in various ways, is he a hero or a villain? Tyrant or tragic hero? This essay discusses these ideas. But what determines what is heroic and villainous? I believe that a hero possesses certain qualities, courage, bravery, valour, gallantry and laudable. And a villain is ruthless, cruel, capricious, and deceitful. Does Macbeth have these qualities? Although Macbeth commits the most heinous crimes one could still argue that he has heroic qualities. At the start of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a hero having come back to Scotland having defeated the Norwegians. ' For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)'. King Duncan thinks of Macbeth as a 'Valiant cousin, worthy gentleman". Duncan then declares Macbeth as the new Thane of Cawdor 'Noble Macbeth has won' not only has Macbeth won the war but the title too. The audience hasn't even seen Macbeth yet and already their first impressions of him are a noble brave hero. ...read more.

Middle

She doesn't see it like that at all she is plagued with guilt and this is what eventually drives to her early grave. She goes slowly insane and Macbeth sends for a doctor knowing full well that this may mean putting all that he has worked for and his secrets in jeopardy. " yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?" This was an action of a hero not a villain. At the end of the play Shakespeare surprises the audience with a sudden flicker of a heroic action in Macbeth, just when the audience has consigned Macbeth to be a villainous murder. When Macbeth is faced with fighting Mcduff { someone who he has already been warned about} he confronts his fear and fate. "yet I will try the last." While this doesn't excuse his crimes it does enable the audience to see some remnant of his great bravery. At this end also Macbeth is betrayed by the witches of whom he has almost become one of them: the witches have earlier referred to him as a " wayward son". They betray him which again puts the label of a victim onto Macbeth so once again Macbeth is seen as having heroic qualities. ...read more.

Conclusion

And if Macbeth did have any heroic qualities wouldn't he have given himself up, not blamed and murdered the two loyal guards. The relationship between Macbeth and his wife, after the death of Duncan slowly breaks down, and the lack of communication increases as the Macbeth gets deep into the villainous life. She was the main force behind the murder of Duncan, but Macbeth can't accept her as he used to because she didn't have to face the actual murder of Duncan. A good example of the communication break down is when Lady Macbeth is resigned to asking to speak with her husband "may I hold a conference with the king?" He feels that he can't trust anyone; would a hero desert his wife? I think not. Although it could be said that he was trying to protect her from his suffering. I have come to the conclusion that I agree that Macbeth is a villain of the worst kind but he also poses some heroic qualities. Like all the characters in Shakespeare's tragedies Macbeth develops and changes throughout the play. When the play begins he is a god-like hero, a firm, strong and loyal character. Unfortunately for him through following his great ambition that suppresses his good and heroic qualities he becomes a "Tyrant". Macbeth, despite the evil he commits, is nevertheless a courageous soldier. ...read more.

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