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How far does Macbeth fit the dramatic model of a tragic hero ?

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Coursework : 'Macbeth' How far does Macbeth fit the dramatic model of a tragic hero ? Shakespeare wrote the play Macbeth building up some relation with the reality in it. To introduce the historical context, this play has been written in 1606 while the reign of James 1st of England. This King was preceded by Queen Elisabeth. In the play, two characters are compared to her: Duncan, because she had the habit of gracing her favoured Nobleman just as Duncan graces Macbeth, and Macbeth, because she was ruthless, just as he is. As for James 1st of England, he wrote a book about witchcraft, called Daemonology. As a boy, he had been told many times of how his family descended from Banquo. In 1606, he watched a performance of Macbeth and was very pleased. All of this to say that when writing this play, Shakespeare had it well adapted to the historical context. Macbeth is seen as a dramatic character because he has got the attributes needed to be a tragic hero. For this, there are several important points: the character must have a high stature; indeed Macbeth is a nobleman, a Thane: ?I know I am Thane of Glamis? (I, iii p.7), he must commit an act which will begin his downfall; Macbeth's downfall starts when he ...read more.


But then some uncertainty comes in for the rest of the soliloquy; Macbeth asks himself questions: ?Why hath it given me earnest of success, commencing in a truth ??, and some 'seesaw' rhythms express this uncertainty: from ?This supernatural soliciting? to ?Against the use of nature ??. His state of mind is showed by his way of speaking: he uses an irregular grammar and the meaning of his words is different. We can see this in the quotation ?My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that function is smother'd in surmise?. This soliloquy is important; it actually is Macbeth's first soliloquy of the play. It is significant because as Macbeth makes his speech, the audience starts to discover how he thinks, understands and interprets facts and ideas, as other people won't especially use the same way(s) and method(s) of analysing the situations. Uncertainty and doubt is also shown by his vocabulary and the type of phrase he uses. So we notice questions, but also small sentences, small affirmations: ?I am Thane of Cawdor?. The vocabulary he uses is peculiar: ?supernatural?, ?horrible imaginings?, ?fantastical?. It suggests that Macbeth is somewhere else, lost in his thoughts, and therefore, confused and uncertain. ...read more.


And she actually starts to worry about him what proves she cares for him. But we can see she feels excluded from Macbeth's latest plans and this may add up some anger to her feelings. In Act V scene v, Macbeth learns about his wife's death. His response to the news is very significant because he really emits the feeling that he doesn't care; his reply starts by ?She should have died hereafter? and this is absolutely the opposite of what the audience expects. Moreover, it is an officer, called Seyton, who tells him Lady Macbeth's death, in an aggressive and very direct way: ?The queen, my lord, is dead?. The pronunciation of this officer's name, Seyton, remembers Satan who actually represents evil. This gives us the impression that evil in itself comes to give the news to Macbeth and this also suggests that Lady Macbeth went to hell. So we can conclude that nothing but a unexpected reaction and a secondary persona can even make a character like Macbeth more tragic than he already is. The tragic hero Macbeth plays is revealed by three essential points: his character, as well as his wife, Lady Macbeth, and his ambition, involving the three witches. They all help and contribute to the dramatic persona in which he lives, feels and dies. ...read more.

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