Macbeth Literary Critic Essay

Macbeth Literary Critic Essay

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The definition of a tragic hero, as stated on dictionary.com, is a literary character that makes an error in judgment that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy. It has been argued for years whether Macbeth from Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Macbeth, can truly be considered a tragic hero or whether he is solely a villainous tyrant. Although there are some valid arguments for the Macbeth is pure evil viewpoint, by looking at Macbeth in a holistic way you can see the tragic, the heroic, and the tragic hero within him. Macbeth is a tragic hero in every sense of the definition.
Macbeth would not be the best first choice of literary character to use as an example of a hero. He is a hero in the beginning of the play and arguably a hero in the end, it is in the middle where his heroism falters. In Act One Macbeth is showered in compliments after defeating the Thane of Cawdor, he is noted as a “brave”, “valiant cousin, and “worthy gentleman” (1.2.17-26). He is of noble status and gains the title Thane of Cawdor for his victory over Macdonwald. Macbeth is a remarkable war hero.
By the end of the play Macbeth has committed numerous awful acts that in no way can allow him to bear the title of a hero, but in Act Five he regains his former nobility. Birnam Wood moves toward Dunsinane, Macduff was prematurely ripped from his mother womb, and Macbeth is left with a choice. He can go out a coward by suicide, prisoner by surrender, or noble by fighting. He chooses to stay and fight, not because he wants more of Macduff’s blood on his conscience, Macbeth himself says, “Get thee back. Mine soul is too much charged with blood of thine already.” (5.8.6-7), but because it is in his nature to fight. He knows his time is up and ...


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...ing anything the WeÏrd Sisters said (5.7.23-24).
What is more, the one thing that Macbeth does that encompasses every aspect of a tragic hero is fighting Macduff and knowing he is going to lose. Macduff is a man much like Macbeth, and arguably the man Macbeth would have become had he not been tempted into such awful actions. Besides that though, Macduff is the man that Macbeth wronged the most. Macbeth killed his family, his wife and children, and that is more pain than any one person should ever have to bear. So who better to slay Macbeth than the man who really deserves the vengeance. Macbeth goes into battle with Macduff not only because it is his nature, as mentioned previously, but because Macbeth owes it to him. It is Macbeth’s way of making things right, this is Macbeth’s apology and that is tragic, heroic, and most importantly an act of a true tragic hero.

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