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

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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.

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