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

Macbeth, is conveyed both as a tragic hero and as an evil tyrant. Discuss

Extracts from this document...


Macbeth Coursework Essay Throughout Shakespeare's 'Macbeth,' the main character, Macbeth, is conveyed both as a tragic hero and as an evil tyrant. He is a tragic hero, as he falls from grace after being at the top, and suffers with dignity when all have deserted him, especially when the English armies are on the brink of attacking him and he refuses to submit, as he dies fighting or his beliefs. Initially, in the first few scenes, Macbeth is seen as a hero, fighting for king and country, but soon he meets the evil witches who change him for the worse. The captain tells us of his bravery when he says, 'NEED THE MACBETH BOOK When Shakespeare came to write Macbeth, James I had just been crowned King James I of England and was already James VI of Scotland. The King had an interest in theatre and overlooked the contents of the play. He was also fascinated by witchcraft but hi hatred for witches was also well known. In 1590, it was alleged that a group of witches tried to kill and it is believed he got his loathing of witches from this. This is the reason why the witches are portrayed as evil and ugly. At the time, the audience would have been a very superstitious one compared to the present day audience. As most believed that witches existed, they would not have reacted well to them, and probably looked at them as disgusting creatures. The theme of regicide was suited to James I's liking. During the King's reign, the Gunpowder plot by Guy Fawkes had come to light. The King's escape may have influenced Shakespeare to contain this theme and show that anyone who tried to murder the King and take his divine right away would be killed. Near the beginning of the play, the Thane of Cawdor is hung for deceiving King Duncan, by working with the invading Norwegians. ...read more.


The witches are also to blame as they start of this whole sequence of events leading to the Macbeth killing Duncan and his behaviour afterwards, as they equivocate about his future and deceive him. I believe that this shops that he is not an evil tyrant, but a tragic hero, as others contribute to his downfall. Shakespeare uses a dramatic device just after Macbeth decides not to kill Duncan by adding a scene where Lady Macbeth enters straightaway to change Macbeth's decision instantly. I believe that this scene is added as it shows Lady Macbeth's strength of personality and her ability to overpower Macbeth. In Act 2, Scene 1, we see Macbeth distancing himself from Banquo for the first time by deceiving him. Although, they are supposed to be the best of friends, Macbeth denies that he has been thinking about the witches' prophecies when Banquo asks him. Then Macbeth decides to try and tempt Banquo onto his side. He says, 'If you shall clave to my consent, when'tis, /It shall make honour of you.' Once Banquo leaves there is another soliloquy, in which Macbeth hallucinates about a dagger, even though he hasn't killed Duncan yet. This shows that he is having second thoughts about the deed he is to commit. This is not a characteristic that is commonly associated with evil tyrants, as they kill without any remorse. The audience also sees this and feels sorry for Macbeth as he has been forced into murdering Duncan and is now suffering the consequences. Macbeth as a character completely changes after Duncan's murder. He fears that after his deed he has been doomed to eternal damnation, because when Malcolm and Donaldbain, Duncan's sons, see their father, 'One cried, 'God Bless us!' and 'Amen' the other' and Macbeth could not say Amen. Macbeth suffers a breakdown but Lady Macbeth stays strong and she tells him to pull himself together, and again questions his manliness. ...read more.


At the end of the play, Macbeth is no longer afraid of anything, he says that he, 'Shall never sag with doubt, nor shake with fear.' He also says he will not commit suicide like his wife and die fighting for his beliefs, 'Why should I play the Roman fool and die/ ON mine own sword? This shows that he is not afraid of anything. I the scenes Macduff reveals to Macbeth that he was born by Caesarean Section, dashing Macbeth's beliefs that he is invincible. But Macbeth is still determined to die fighting for what he believes in. He is eventually slain by Macduff and Scotland is freed again with Macbeth removed from the throne. I believe that Macbeth's final soliloquy reflects his won life and his regrets. He finally realises that life is just a stage and we are the actors in it. He says if somebody doesn't achieve something in life, it is a waste. This is the philosophy by which Macbeth lives. He wants to make something of his life and believes the only way to do this is b becoming King, but unfortunately he goes the wrong way about it. In conclusion, I believe Macbeth was a tragic hero as he kills Duncan to please his wife and is pressured by her and the witches to kill him. Although if he had thought of himself and stood up for himself, he would not have killed Duncan and none of this would have happened, so he is also partly to blame for his own downfall. After killing Duncan, he becomes paranoid and believes everyone is against him and kills anyone he wants, even if he has no motive. He becomes afraid of fear itself and lets his guilty conscience take over his life. The audience feels sorry for Macbeth as all he wants to do is have a successful life, but chooses the wrong method. He dies fighting for his beliefs even though they change throughout, and ends the play like he starts it, being brave, strong and full of confidence. ...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 Essay - ‘Macbeth Tyrant or Tragic Hero?

    Macbeth shows this when he kills King Duncan. In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth's influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed greatly to his degeneration of character which resulted to his downfall...death.

  2. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    The reason why Shakespeare uses this metaphor is once again to try and draw all sympathy away from Macbeth, as the king would not have liked him. In Shakespeare's time, owls were associated with witching and darkness, so the audience would despise Macbeth in theory; yet I still think pity would have been present in practice.

  1. "'Macbeth' is a play about the conflict between good and evil." Discuss.

    ear And chastise with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round" This demonstrates her manipulative nature; she desires Macbeth to become King, possibly so she can receive fame and glory too. The imagery used here also indicates her evil; she refers to "spirits", and although this is metaphorical, it does indicate her evil thoughts.

  2. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    later viewing] [View Saved Essays] Macbeth�s strive for power affects every aspect of his life, and this motivation eventually leads to his demise. Many different factors play a pivotal role in deciding his ill-fated future. With his wife�s cajoling, and the three witches� foretelling of his future Macbeth, will stop at nothing to gain position as King of Scotland.

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

    He feels that his kingship is worthless if it is to be that Banquo's children will inherit the crown, and not his own. His ambition keeps him yearning for more when he has already achieved his objective. Evidence of Macbeth's blind ambition is the notion that he believes that he

  2. Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

    She would then shiver and start screaming "make thick my blood, Stop up th'access and passage to remorse" and then she would place her hands upon her breast and calmly ask the spirits to "... Come to my woman's breast; Take my milk for gall".

  1. Macbeth : a tragic hero or bloody tyrant?

    "Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst" (Act 2: Scene 2: L.77) His wife apparently has forced him to do something a bit against his will. At the same time that this happened, Malcolm and Donaldbain decided to elude to England and Ireland respectively to escape the accusation.

  2. How can blame be apportioned in “Macbeth”?

    Together with Lady Macbeth he is ruthless in pursuing his own selfish aims. He organises the death of those whom he sees as rivals and thus a threat to his safety. He is merciless in wiping out the Macduff family, an act of mindless horror.

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