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

Macbeth: Tragic Hero or Tyrant?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Macbeth: Tragic Hero or Tyrant? 'Macbeth' was written by Shakespeare in 1606 and like other writers, reflected the world he knew. 'Macbeth' as a whole, is about ambition and the extreme steps taken by Macbeth to gain it. Therefore, Shakespeare focused a lot about 'Kingship' and 'Tyranny' in the play. In Shakespeare's times the issue of succession was a very complicated business. It was a time when really ambitious people existed; aiming for power and tyranny was often conducted at various levels of the society. There is no doubt that the people were familiar with the idea of 'Kingship' and 'Succession to the throne'. The play draws image from everyday experience, and from the customs and preoccupations of Jacobean England. This play was written by Shakespeare partly as to tribute King James, who became the king of England in 1603 after the death of Queen Elizabeth. Shakespeare's Macbeth is a very emotive play, providing the audience with powerful, moral messages. The play is short but has a complex plot and is an excellent parable. It is all about Macbeth, a nobleman, with some inborn flaws in his character and some influenced by other characters, begins a journey that starts with him as the Thane of Glamis and ends with him as the fallen King of Scotland. As he says: "blood will have blood". His fall at the end of the play is not unexpected. All his flaws and his fall at the end denote that he is nothing but a well-crafted tragic hero. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth hereafter can never sleep in peace. This is one of the symptoms of his fall at the end. The worst part of it is that it will be slow and painful. After the murder, Lady Macbeth asks him to wash his blood stained hands, but Macbeth on the other hand fears to have a blood stained soul, something that cannot be washed clean. The imagery of blood is used, showing the permanence of the act and also implies that Macbeth can get rid of it only by giving his blood - that is death. During wars Macbeth has killed a lot of people but that does not affect his conscience because he has killed them for a just reason - for the sake of his country, to protect his people from the enemies and to maintain peace in his homeland. In Duncan's case, it is a totally contrasting situation. He does it to satiate his desire, which is a selfish act, leading the entire country - his homeland, into a trap of bedlam. The people who suffer from this act obviously don't deserve it and thus the audiences are hinted that Macbeth will somehow have to pay for this wrong doing. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth says: 'This is a sorry sight' implying his guilty and sad attitude towards the murdered body, using alliteration. Macbeth reveals that before the murder he has been nothing but a puppet whose puppeteers are Lady Macbeth and the witches and now that the conduct is done, they have deserted him to experience the 'sorry sight'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth one day sees the Birnam Woods move but he is unaware that it is the English army with Macduff. The army takes over the castle and Macbeth does not flee. Instead he relies on the prophecy that 'no man of woman born' can kill him. He soon comes face to face with Macduff. He boasts in a satisfied way about what the prophecies have said. Macduff reveals his caesarean birth. Macbeth is immediately drained out of courage - a fallen hero. Everything seems numb to him. He refuses to believe this fact. He realises how he has been misled by 'half truth' as the truth. He finds himself betrayed and defeated. He is then given a choice - either captivity or death. Macbeth chooses death. We can see that there is a sudden change in Macbeth. He tries to be what he was before - brave, noble and free. He uses his last bit of bravery and strength to fight a losing battle with Macduff. The audience feels sorry for Macbeth. Macbeth has suffered at his own hands. Macbeth in the end died nobly ... more nobly than he lived. Macbeth here is a perfect example of a tragic hero as he is good at the start; has turned unnaturally ambitious due to the prophecies; loses control over his actions and finally has a fall. Macbeth comes to know about his faults at the end when there is no time; his death is then inevitable. All these sum up to show that he is nothing but a tragic hero. ?? ?? ?? ?? 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 Essay - ‘Macbeth Tyrant or Tragic Hero?

    After the support of Lady Macbeth and with the meeting with the witches eventually does kill his King. After killing King Duncan , Macbeth is starting to realize what it is that he has done, and becomes suspicious and paranoid of everyone around him by putting spy's in every castle

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

    Horses have become carnivorous and have begun to eat each other. It is ironic that the hero who saved Scotland at the start of the play is now the one who is bringing about its destruction. The third act opens with Banquo pondering the recent mysterious event, in particular how

  1. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    he distances himself from her. He stops sharing his thoughts and plans. This maybe because he did not want to burden his wife with his vicious plans.

  2. Macbeth : a tragic hero or bloody tyrant?

    (Act 1: Scene 4: L 22-27) He already appeared to fit the criterion of tragic hero since he was courageous and respected. He has saves Scotland and many lives from the battle. After Duncan had announced that his son, Malcolm, would succeed to the throne, we first learned of his flawed personality.

  1. Macbeth- tragic hero or bloody tyrant?

    He was also a descendent of the real Banquo and Shakespeare made his character to be as little like Macbeth as possible, event though the real Banquo helped Macbeth to kill all the people he did. In the 17th century in the time it was wrote people believed a lot

  2. Macbeth as a Tragic Hero

    Is it because he could not say 'Amen' ? Are his words, "I am afraid to think what I have done" a sign of remorse? Is this borne out by , "Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!" ? Could one really believe, at this stage in the play, that Macbeth is a butcher?

  1. To what extent can Macbeth be considered a tragic hero?

    The witches also provide extra voices in his ear that effectively tell him to kill Duncan. As a result, Macbeth's flaw is not actually directly fatal and he does not have the free will that is required to choose his own path to his demise.

  2. Macbeth- Tyrant or tragic hero? Discuss

    This is what eventually leads to Macbeth's downfall towards the closing stages of the play. Other characters in the play also play upon his weakness. The supernatural intervention of the Witches can be considered, and also that of his own wife, Lady Macbeth.

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