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

Trace Macbeth's Development from "Brave Macbeth" to "dead butcher". To what extent does he fulfil his role as Tragic Hero?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shakespeare: Trace Macbeth's Development from "Brave Macbeth" to "dead butcher". To what extent does he fulfil his role as Tragic Hero? By Rowan Poulter The word 'tragedy' refers mainly to a tragic drama: a fictional piece of work, written to be performed by actors, in which the main character takes the form of a tragic protagonist or hero. Tragedy began in Greek theatre with the notion that a great catastrophe would happen; the social order would be disrupted. Aristotle, a great Greek philosopher, draws basic differences between tragedy and other genres such as comedy. The main one of theses differences is the audience reaction. The audience have to realise that the tragic hero is neither fully good nor fully evil, and that his suffering is greater than his offence and therefore he deserves pity, not hatred or fear. Tragedy stresses the vulnerability of humans, whose pain is brought on by a combination of human and godly actions, but is mainly undeserved in relation to its harshness. It is written with embellished, poetic language, and the story line is often based on fate. It always includes a man (the tragic hero) against the universe; nothing seems to be on his side but he continues with his path regardless. At the end of the play the audience feels that the natural order is re-established and there is a purging of the emotions that have been experienced throughout the play, to bring back the natural balance that had been disrupted by the tragic hero. The Tragic Protagonist or Hero is the central character of the play. He is usually someone of elevated status, usually a king, "Brave Macbeth", but part way through the play he will have a tragic fall (peripetieia), brought on by his tragic flaw (hamartia). The character's equilibrium is disrupted by his fatal flaw and tragic flaw, and it never returns to normal; the view of the world at the end of the play is different from the beginning. ...read more.

Middle

Plotting against the king would be considered as plotting against God, "I could not say 'Amen'". Macbeth was feeling remorse for his actions, and he realised that he would never be able to forgive himself for the murder of Duncan. Macbeth is wishing he could take back the murder, for he fears it will drive him insane "Macbeth shall sleep no more". This is ironic as Duncan will not be able to sleep anymore; Macbeth has killed Duncan so he can become king, but without sleep he too would die. He also speaks in third person, as if he is talking to himself; a sign of madness. He is wishing that the murder was committed by somebody else, and that he had not done it. The audience are now feeling pity for Macbeth. He had control over his actions, but as he is a tragic hero, fate meant he would have to commit the murder. They feel pity for him as he shows remorse for his actions. The natural world is often used to enhance the unnatural actions that Macbeth performs. Owls are often mentioned, "mousing owl". Owls are connected to death; they are mentioned after Macbeth's first murder of Duncan. The Divine Right of Kings is also a big part enhancing the unnatural actions of Macbeth, and is part of the universal significance of what Macbeth is doing. People believed that the King was chosen by God, and therefore by killing the king you would be going against God. Later this is also mentioned, "Bleed bleed poor country". Macbeth's actions are affecting everyone, not just the people closest to him. This is part of a tragedy; they affect everyone, not just the a few select people. The banquet scene is the turning point of the play. Macbeth shows his ruthlessness and orders the death of his best friend, Banquo, "It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight, / If it find heaven, must find it out tonight". ...read more.

Conclusion

He is also affected by the fate and prophecies of the witches, which helps the audience feel pity for him, as his life was not entirely his fault, and he couldn't be entirely responsible for his actions and therefore his suffering. However, he might not be considered a tragic hero as he did not suffer more than needed. He killed innocent people, and suffered accordingly. Some people might also say that Lady Macbeth persuaded him to murder Duncan and therefore he is not a tragic hero. I believe that he is a tragic hero, and that the play follows the guidelines of a tragedy. At the end of the play I think the audience feel pity and remorse for Macbeth, especially when he admits that his life has been worthless, "It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing". He is calling himself an idiot for leading the life that he lived, and admitting that all the cold heartless murders he committed to keep his throne were pointless as he ended up living an unhappy life anyway. This re-elevates the respect the audience has for him. He also regains his poetic way of speaking, using iambic pentameter, which shows that Shakespeare meant for him to be re-elevated at this point. I do have sympathy for him; he chose his path in life, but it was also fate that he would have a tragic fall. In the end he wished he could change it all, which shows that he has remorse for his actions, and therefore deserves sympathy. He also had a very manipulative wife who encouraged him to commit the first murder; along with the witches who manipulated the prophecies that led him to believe a false truth (that no man could kill him). He did make some of the choices in his life himself, although many of them were as a result of manipulation and were not entirely his fault: he was, in the end, just fulfilling the role of a tragic hero. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Coursework Rowan Poulter 10X1 17/12/07 ...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. Peer reviewed

    Discuss the Role Played by the Witches in the Tragedy of Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    Macbeth is a wreck! Malcolm and Donalbain flee to England and Ireland making them appear guilty. Macbeth inherits the throne. In Act 2, scene 4, Ross enters accompanied by an old man. The scene that follows is very important when it comes to creating mood and atmosphere.

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

    Macbeth is very startled by the weird sisters' famous three "All Hails." The line "Good sir, why do you start." is effectively a stage direction. Macbeth is instantly entranced and "rapt withal" by the witches; because he believes them. In contrast, Banquo doubts them very much on introduction and tells

  1. To what extent is Macbeth wholly responsible for his ruin, which destroys not only ...

    Duncan > Banquo > Macduff's family). As Macbeth's ambition increases, the divine Scotland suffers increasingly and the strain and the country and it's people becomes apparent. The ruin that he causes himself is passed down through the political ladder of Scotland and pushes the entire country into a vicious circle of death and mental destruction.

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

    would indicate that perhaps Macbeth has thought about being crowned before this incident, and this is the first step towards his dreams being realized. The audience will be able to sense Macbeth's curiosity, because almost certainly everyone has had a point in their life where someone seems to know something

  1. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    They finally fight and Macbeth says that he cannot be killed from one of woman born. Macduff says that he was not born naturally but "untimely ripped". At this moment Macbeth realises that he was deceived by the witches, that they were making 'double sense'.

  2. To what extent was Lady Macbeth responsible for Macbeths downfall?

    This enables Macbeth to attain new courage so as to plan out others murders himself. We come to see how initially Lady Macbeth made Macbeth immune to carrying out the murder of King Duncan; hence he sees another murder as being a normal aspect.

  1. Macbeth- tragic hero or bloody tyrant?

    This scene fits into the story because it was the one murder in which Macbeth did not have to get edged on by his wife lady Macbeth to do and it was also his loyal friend that people would never have thought he would kill ever at the beginning but

  2. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    [View Saved Essays] Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are basically good people who make an ill judgement. It is unfair for Malcolm to describe them as "this dead butcher and his fiend - like queen". In the beginning they are respected people who share a loving relationship.

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