The Hero? In Macbeth

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The Hero? In Macbeth

The tragedy Macbeth highlights an ambivalent character who wants to be king. This paper will take a close look at his character.

Samuel Johnson in The Plays of Shakespeare states that every reader rejoices at the fall of Macbeth (133).

In Shakespeare and Tragedy John Bayley talks about Macbeth as a responsible agent for his actions:

It is essential to the hypnotic tension of the play that Macbeth should not seem in any ordinary way 'responsible' for his actions. Not only the witches but every other agency is like a portent or apparition - pity striding the blast, heaven's cherubim, the lamentations heard in the air, the voice that cried 'Sleep no more' - do not so much personify the haunted imagination of Macbeth as act as separate and rival powers, distracting us from the difference between the usurper and murderer and the mind which has drawn us in. [. . .] It is the feeling shared by both Macbeth and the audience, that something has 'come for' him, that the secure world of thought and possibility, of the individual self with its desires and secrets, has gone beyond recall. (191)

In "Macbeth as the Imitation of an Action" Francis Fergusson considers how Macbeth fully understands the irrationality of his deed:

I do not need to remind you of the great scenes preceding the murder, in which Macbeth and his Lady pull themselves together for their desperate effort. If you think over these scenes, you will notice that the Macbeths understand the action which begins here as a competition and a stunt, against reason and against nature. Lady Macbeth fears her husband's human nature, as well as her own female nature, and therefore she fears the light of rea...

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... Samuel. The Plays of Shakespeare. N.p.: n.p.. 1765. Rpt in Shakespearean Tragedy. Bratchell, D. F. New York, NY: Routledge, 1990.

Kemble, Fanny. "Lady Macbeth." Macmillan's Magazine, 17 (February 1868), p. 354-61. Rpt. in Women Reading Shakespeare 1660-1900. Ann Thompson and Sasha Roberts, eds. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997.

Lamb, Charles. On the Tragedies of Shakespeare. N.p.: n.p.. 1811. Rpt in Shakespearean Tragedy. Bratchell, D. F. New York, NY: Routledge, 1990.

Mack, Maynard. Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth., no lin.

Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.
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