Macbeth Does Not Deserve Our Sympathy

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Macbeth Does Not Deserve Our Sympathy

Our first impressions of Macbeth are that he is a hero, he is brave and fearless, and although we get this impression we also get the feeling that he is ruthless. We get this impression from the way he is referred to when his name is first mentioned. Macbeth has just been in battle against "The merciless Macdonwald" and a Captain is talking about how Macbeth and his fellow Captain, Banquo, performed in battle. While Macbeth is in battle the Thane of Cawdor is found to be a traitor and executed. The King, Duncan, hears of Macbeth's bravery and grants him the Thane's title. This leads us to believe that Macbeth is brave enough to deserve such a distinguished title.

For Brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name Act 1 scene 2. Line 16

Till he unseamed him from the nave to the chops, Act 1 scene 2. Line 22

In Act 1 scene three the three Witches have gathered to prepare a spell for Macbeth. Macbeth and Banquo come across the three weird sisters and discuss how horrible they are. The witches begin to tell Macbeth that he will become Thane of Cawdor and then the King of Scotland. Macbeth initially wants to know more of what the witches are telling him, then dismisses their predictions as impossible.

But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives Act 1 scene 3. Line 71

Before the murder of Duncan the King, Macbeth seems to be a moral person as he knows what is right and what is wrong. He wonders about the consequences of killing Duncan to become King of Scotland as he knows this is wrong. He tries to hide the things he is thinking from Duncan as he knows what he is thinking of is wrong because Duncan is a good friend. Almost from the moment he finds out that the witch's prediction ...

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...o kill Macduff even if it means sacrificing himself.

Tell thee Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ripped Act 5 scene 6 line 54-55

I will not yield Act 5 scene 6 line 66

Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Act 5 scene 6 line 71-72

Works Cited and Consulted

Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 1991.

Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes, Slaves of Passion. Gloucester: Peter Smith Publisher Inc., 1973.

Hawkes, Terence. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Macbeth. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977.

Hunter, G.K. “Macbeth in the Twentieth Century.” Aspects of Macbeth. Ed. Kenneth Muir and Philip Edwards.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Oxford: OUP, 1994.

Scott, Mark W. (Editor). Shakespeare for Students. Gale Research Inc. Detroit, Michigan. 1992
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