Human Weakness in Macbeth and Othello

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Macbeth is one of the best known plays written by Shakespeare in the 17th century, Jacobean period. It was the period where the belief in supernatural was greatly held and king James I himself, the author of Divine rights of king adhered in witchcraft and openly practiced the idea of kings being God’s representatives on earth, so to even complain about them was a sin. The tragic hero, brave and valiant Macbeth had all the required characteristics of the ideal Scottish soldier; valorous and gallant but he is bound to have a tragic flaw which he is powerless over and the cause of his inevitable death, his ‘vaulting ambition’ and greed. We then have our other tragedy Othello, which is unique in the literature of time because he was the first black tragic hero presented on a stage. Othello is often referred to as the ‘Moor’ due to his heritage of being North African. The effective warrior who was never meant to fit into the Venetian society ,where black was traditionally known as the colour of evil and interracial marriages were improbable. This tragedy is about a noble hero and the destruction of his good and marriage by his tragic flaws of jealousy and pride. Both heroes are the subject of their prey from the beginning; Othello’s innocence and honesty leaves him unprotected from Iago, Macbeth is chosen as a target for temptation by the servants of nature (witches), and the stage is set for their downfall.

Shakespeare develops the plays Othello and Macbeth by foreshadowing the tragic fall of the protagonists in the way they are introduced, to present human weakness. The opening act of Macbeth begins with the witches performing a spell with thunder and lightning. This creates an eerie mood for the audience and witches are exposed of...

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... knows that Macduff being the ‘woman born’ is the one to kill him, he showed his original side for the last time; the brave and valiant Macbeth arose once again, hereby proving he will not give up. Shakespeare’s moral of Othello was to maybe tell the audience to make your own decisions instead of having someone else choose for you or maybe to hold on to the things you love and not take them for granted or to have full trust on them. In Macbeth we learn the lust for power can corrupt even the most greatest or that ambitions have their limit, don’t make it into something you will even murder for.

Works Cited

Shakesphere, William. Macbeth. New Jersey: Pearson, 2010. 322-415 .Print.

Shakespeare, William. Othello, Moor of Venice. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense. 9th ed. Editors Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson. Boston: Thomson, 2006. 1263-1357.
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