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To what extent do you agree that Macbeth fits the role of tragic hero?

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Introduction

To what extent do you agree that Macbeth fits the role of tragic hero? The play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare charts the rise and fall of the Scottish general Macbeth, through a tale of treachery, deceit and death. First performed in 1606 'Macbeth' is inspired by a story of the Scottish monarchy. A tragic hero is one who at the outset is not wholly good or bad but has a character fault that causes them to make tragic mistakes resulting in their eventual downfall. 'Macbeth' is a renaissance tragedy and we can see that Macbeth's decisions to move away from war hero to noble aggressor as an example of him being an archetypal renaissance tragic hero. We can define 'Macbeth' as a renaissance tragedy because Macbeth determined his own fate by deciding to sin, for example, killing King Duncan. Macbeth also had a tragic flaw or hamartia, which was his vaulting and uncontrollable ambition. To the Greeks hamartia resulted from ignorance, something the hero could not control. Macbeth was responsible for his own fate and was not a victim of a cruel trick played on him by the gods. This alone proves that Macbeth is a renaissance, not a Greek tragedy. ...read more.

Middle

Often there is a fatal flaw which leads to his downfall. In the play 'Macbeth' the tragic hero is the central protagonist, he is tempted by the chance to take the throne and will do anything to get it. He is prepared to allow his actions to be influenced by superstitious beliefs. The three witches told Macbeth that he would become King and he believed that because it was a supernatural prophecy, it would come true no matter what he did "If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me Without my stir" Act 1, Scene 3, Line 141. He has a consuming ambition to be King and this prevents him from exercising reason and good judgement. In some circumstances, ambition can be seen as a strength of character. However in Macbeth the combination of his love for Lady Macbeth and ambition allows him to be influenced by her, contributing to his downfall. He held considerable and increasing power in Scotland. He sees himself as invincible and he does not believe that anything can bring him down. It is this belief that leads him even to murdering Duncan and to his eventual downfall. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One: two: why, then 'tis time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, Fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who Knows it, when none can call our power accompt? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?" Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 34-39. The blood is seen as their guilt and they cannot get rid of it until the crime is punished by their own deaths. Another symbol used in the play is the raven symbolizing ill omen. The raven is often referred to as a storm crow since it tells of an upcoming storm. It served the same purpose in the play being seen before tense parts. Another symbol in the play is sleep. Sleep represents innocence, because when one is asleep one is very vulnerable to attack and one can also not commit any crimes when asleep and those who cannot have sleep are so because they have lost their innocence and are overcome with guilt and paranoia. In conclusion I believe that Macbeth fits the role of renaissance tragic hero. I think this because he is responsible for his own downfall and this downfall comes about because of a tragic flaw. Macbeth's tragic flaw was his vaulting ambition to become king. ...read more.

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