Macbeth - Noble Soldier to Bloody Tyrant Essay

Macbeth - Noble Soldier to Bloody Tyrant Essay

Length: 1330 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Macbeth - Noble Soldier to Bloody Tyrant

  The purpose of tragedy is to arouse in the audience emotions of fear or pity, and to produce a catharsis-a relieving cleansing-of these emotions. Macbeth is the most horrific of Shakespeare's tragedies because the protagonist commits such bloodthirsty acts. Apart from on the battlefield, however, this brutality is not evident when we first meet the hero.  General Macbeth is a man of military and political importance, the heroic Thane of Glamis and potential heir to the throne of Scotland.  By the end of the play he is an entirely different person than he was in the beginning. In the beginning he is a heroic, decent, and noble soldier, but by the end of the play he is a bloody tyrant.


A key ingredient in such a genre is the tragic flaw, an idea that goes back to an influential work of literary criticism called Poetics, by Aristotle.  Aristotle said that the tragic hero should be someone of rank or importance with a tragic flaw, who suffers a "reversal of intention" that eventually leads to his or her death.    Aristotle also said that in the process, the tragic hero should experience recognition of this failure and that by the end of the work our moral sense should be satisfied that right or justice has prevailed.    The tragic flaw is some weakness in character that is responsible for action or inaction on the part of the tragic hero and leads to the reversal of the hero's original intention.  Therefore, the reversal of intention is the turning point in the tragic hero's life when he or she experiences something that causes the tide to turn and previous success to turn to failure.  [The fourth soliloquy prepares us for the reversal, and the climactic...

... middle of paper ...

...ere is room for debate about his courage and nobility, and whether or not we feel any pity or compassion for him. Our feelings at the end constitute the expected catharsis.


Works Cited and Consulted:

Greenblatt, Stephen. "Introduction to Macbeth." The Norton Shakespeare. New York: Norton, 1997. 2555-63.

Hawkins, Michael. "History, politics, and Macbeth." Focus on Macbeth. Ed. John Russell Brown. London: Routledge, 1982. 155-88.

Kermode, Frank. "Introduction to Macbeth." The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: Houghton, 1974. 1307-11.

Shakespeare, William.  Tragedy of Macbeth . Ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul   Warstine. New York: Washington Press, 1992.   



1 Roman Polanski changes the ending in his film, when he has Donalbain visit the witches to determine his own fate as the brother of the new King Malcolm.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Macbeth - Macbeth The Tyrant

- At the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as a courageous soldier who is loyal to the King but is corrupted from the witches prophecies and by his and Lady Macbeth’s ambition. Their marriage is of convenience for Lady Macbeth, but for Macbeth it is more than that. He loves his wife, and she takes advantage of that. She is continuously making him feel guilty, for being weak, and challenges his manhood, with these words "When you durst do it, then you were a man, and, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man." (I,vi,50-52), which means, Be a man, and I will love you as one....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
708 words (2 pages)

Sympathy For Macbeth Essay

- The tragedy of Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is one of the most revolting and dark pieces of poetry from the Elizabethan time period. The main character, Macbeth, is one that cannot be related to harmony, warmth and peace. This play is filled with bloodshed and continuous felonies. Macbeth approaches his ambition to become king in a negative manner; he commits treason and murders king Duncan. Yet, even though Macbeth continues with his devious and sinister plots, we still feel pity toward poor Macbeth....   [tags: Tragedy of Macbeth, William Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1690 words (4.8 pages)

Free Essay on Macbeth - The Guilt of Lady Macbeth

- The Guilt of Lady Macbeth Everyone is influenced by other people, including leaders or authority, to make the wrong decisions at some point in their lives. In the play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is responsible for the evil doings of Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is responsible for this by using his love for her to persuade him into killing King Duncan. Because Macbeth loved and trusted his wife, he was vulnerable to her opinions and suggestions. We also know that she is responsible for these heartless things because she has so much guilt that she commits suicide....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Macbeth Essays]

Free Essays
617 words (1.8 pages)

Shakespeare's Macbeth - The Transformation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Essay

- The Transformation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth      In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth decide, in a great fit of ambition, to kill King Duncan.  Later in the play we see the same two characters undergo a transformation in their personalities after murdering the King.  Macbeth begins the play as a noble soldier and gradually changes into an ambitious and murdering tyrant.  Lady Macbeth begins as a strong, ambitious woman who dominates her husband and gradually changes into a weak and guilt-ridden woman.  This essay will explore the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth before and after the murder of King Duncan....   [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]

Strong Essays
2854 words (8.2 pages)

How Does Shakespeare and Stevenson Present the Characters as Disturbed? Essays

- The two written pieces of two very different authors both begin with the minor characters that you don’t hear or read much about during the play and novel. In the start you are given opinions from the minor characters about the main characters; Macbeth and Dr. Jekyll. Both main characters are seen as respectable, high statuses and noble. The summary of Macbeth is about an honorable soldier named Macbeth that follows his ambitions although they are very bad and lead him to a terrible downfall that changes him from a nobleman to a tyrant....   [tags: respectable, statuses, noble, honor]

Strong Essays
1729 words (4.9 pages)

Macbeth's Character Essay

- William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth can be divided into six parts based upon the personality of Macbeth, the main character, which changes noticeably throughout the play. From the beginning of the play until we first meet Lady Macbeth, Macbeth appears to be a brave, loyal commander in the Scottish army. In fact, King Duncan refers to ‘noble Macbeth’, as he calls him, as ‘valiant cousin’ and ‘worthy gentleman’ after hearing of how he led Scotland to victory. However, after meeting the witches, Macbeth begins to show signs of ambition, saying that ‘If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me’....   [tags: character analysis, literary analysis]

Strong Essays
552 words (1.6 pages)

Macbeth - Kingship Essay examples

- With detailed reference to the characters of Macbeth, Duncan, Malcolm and Edward in the play ‘Macbeth’, analyse William Shakespeare’s ideas and attributes towards kingship and assess what you think the audiences reaction to the play would be at the time. Shakespeare’s ideas towards kingship can be seen throughout the play. He shows that a king should be chosen by divine right and shows the attributes of what a good king should be. The play ‘Macbeth’ is set in medieval Scotland at the fictional time of King Duncan....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
1611 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare's Macbeth is a Tragic Hero

- Macbeth is a Tragic Hero                 "Shakespeare's tragic hero is a man of noble birth who falls from a position of honor and respect due to a flaw in his character. He freely chooses a course of action which ultimately causes him suffering and brings him to a fatal end."(Campbell 129) Macbeth is the epitome of a tragic hero who rises high then falls rock bottom to his death. Macbeth, once a noble man, follows the advice of witches, finds himself King, abuses his power and then gets killed....   [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]

Strong Essays
962 words (2.7 pages)

Tragedy in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Tragedy in William Shakespeare's Macbeth The play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is a tragedy. It takes place in Scotland in Medieval times during the feudal system. This play shows how the evil of a person can overpower his good inclination and commit murder. In the play, Macbeth, a nobleman and general in the king's army, slays the king and other noblemen's families. Macbeth and Banquo, brave and noble generals in the army of the gracious King Duncan of Scotland, have been successful in putting down a rebellion led by Macdonwald and the thane of Cawdor....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
785 words (2.2 pages)

Macbeth...Tragic Hero? Essays

- Macbeth is a butcher.” Discuss this statement exploring the ideas of Macbeth as a tragic hero and that the murder may or may not be entirely his fault. In your answer consider the role of the witches, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth’s indecision and his fatal flaw, ambition. You must support your answer with specific reference to and quotes from the play. The play, “Macbeth” by Shakespeare is entirely focused on the main character, Macbeth. In this play there are many complex themes and symbols that ties in with Macbeth’s character....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
907 words (2.6 pages)