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Tragic Heroes In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Austin White
Mrs. Morgan
ENG 3U1
05 November 2017 Macbeth Essay
Tragic heroes often have distinct qualities to them which makes them different compared to the other characters. Often times, the tragic hero has an abundance of ambition to acquire a certain goal. This leads to the tragic hero to obtain guilt,, as they have trouble accepting what they have done, or the person they have turned into because of their ambition. Lastly, pity and fear is felt by the audience, often during the downfall of the tragic hero. William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth displays a tragic hero perfectly. Macbeth displays a vast amount of ambition, guilt, and is capable of creating pity and fear within the audience making him a true tragic hero.
Firstly, Macbeth
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Macbeth first illustrates a fair amount of guilt directly after murdering Duncan: “Methought heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep” (II.ii.35,36). Macbeth imagines a voice which states sleeping is no longer safe as Macbeth murdered Duncan in his sleep, heightening the cruelty of the crime and leaving Macbeth to mourn with guilt and remorse. He originally did not want to murder Duncan. He hoped there would be another way, until he realized it had to be done in order for him to be successful, which was the start to a future filled with astonishing amounts of guilt for him. Secondly, another example of Macbeth showing guilt is when he imagines Banquo's ghost: “Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake Thy gory locks at me” (III.iv.45). Macbeth imagines the ghost of Banquo, and tries to tell it that the murder is not his fault, which shows he is full of guilt over the fact that he murdered Banquo. This is when it becomes more evident that the guilt is tearing Macbeth apart, and he is starting to lose his sanity as he imagines ghosts and attempts to talk to them. Lastly, more guilt is shown during a conversation between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth: “I am in blood Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er.” (III,iv,143). Macbeth feels guilty here as he admits that everything he is doing is wrong, but he is so deeply involved…show more content…
The audience feels pity, likely to start when the tragic hero begins his downfall. Firstly, the audience exhibits a great amount of pity for the tragic hero Macbeth after he assassinates King Duncan: “I’ll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on ’t again I dare not” (II.ii.51-53) The audience feels pity for Macbeth in this instance as it is evident that he realizes that he has made a mistake and is sincerely sorry, and the guilt is eating him alive. Lady Macbeth has been a negative influence on him, giving him ambition to kill King Duncan. Macbeth is evidently scared for what he had done and deeply regrets it, creating pity within the audience. Next, fear joins the audience during the scenes which involves Macbeth and the murderers. Fear is given to the audience when it is evident Macbeth has turned into a cold blooded killer, who is unpredictable and easily influenced: “It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight, If it find heaven, must find it out tonight” (III.i.146,147). At this point, it is evident Macbeth will murder Banquo. This creates a vast amount of fear within the audience, because they can foresee Macbeth’s downfall as he turns into a murderer and will commit more until he is ultimately killed. The last point in which the audience exhibits the most pity throughout the play for Macbeth, is during his speech upon the realization that