Shakespeare's Macbeth - The Tragic Hero

Shakespeare's Macbeth - The Tragic Hero

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Macbeth: Macbeth The Tragic Hero

 

 

        The most recent meaning of the word Tragic Hero as defined by Microsoft

Works dictionary is "A hero of noble stature whose fortunes are reversed as a

result of weakness." Many characters in the play were affected by  tragedy for

a number of reasons, but without argue, Macbeth and his reverse of fortunes are

due to his own actions, and the rest of the cast were merely victims of this.

Macbeth's action's lead to his very nemises. From the beginning of the play this

tragedy of his was manifested through forces beyond human; the supernatural if

you will. These forces were that of the witches. The next factor in determining

his fate was his own decision's and action's. Lady Macbeth is the second reason

for Macbeth's tragedy; without her support in aiding his decision, Macbeth would

have never had the strength to lie, scheme, and destroy to such extremes. The

last, and most devastating to Macbeth, was his cripled conscious which made him

act out of selfeshness and lust.  The sequence of these factors were most

defenitely provoked by the evilness and twisted nature of the witches, for if it

weren't for their influence, then Macbeth would have never turned his desires

into reality.

 

        At the very beginning of the play Macbeth is nothing but a general

fighting for his country. His fellow fighter's admire Macbeth, for in their

eyes, and even in the eyes of the highest of authority, his nobility and

couragousness is looked up to. His success for his acheivement is rewarded, and

his confidence is made stronger because of this. But this is only the beginning,

and soon these good fortunes will come to a tragic end. The audience is then

introduced to a group of witches. Three witches who appear as wicked and

repulsive. They seem to signify all that is wrong and corrupt. Macbeth's over-

confident attitude is the first characteristic the witches detect, and they take

advantage of this trait to make his life as miserable as they possibly can. He

encounters the witches in Act1, scene1, and from this point he is now a step

closer to realising what his future holds... so he thinks. The witches first

address Macbeth as king, and Banguo as one "Lesser than Macbeth."(1.2.65) Infact,

Macbeth isn't king, never the less, the witches insist in prophecising that he

is and will be. The witches are already planting seeds of persuation into his

head which are made to bloom into tragedy. These destructive and manipulative

forces the witches have power over alter his viewpoints about his values and

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morals beyond the point of no return. Already, it is a tragedy in itself that

Macbeth's invulnarability lead him to believing such evilness.

 

        Macbeth may have listened and considered what may be true about the

witch's prophecie's, but he should be credited with the fact that he did have

doubt. It is true that Macbeth thought about what he had to do in order to ever

become king, and he could never imagined himself going as far as killing king

Duncan: "Why, if fate will have me king, fate may crown me."(1.7.14)  In other

words, he hasn't established his decision yet.

 

        But now we are introduced to Lady Macbeth. She is very pleased to hear

of Macbeth's victory and she is very supportive once he's successfully

considered thane of Cawdor. She sees the horizon for her husband is now broader,

and she wants only the best for him. Macbeth tells her what the witches see in

his future, and this gives her scope to an even grander possibilty;  they can

kill the king and make the vision actuality. So at this point it is Lady

Macbeth's to encourage Macbeth into following his dreams, despite what is right

or wrong. She doesn't allow Macbeth to be coward and she makes it very clear to

him that he lacks manhood:

 

        What beast was't then/ That made you break this enterprise to me?/ 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. Nor time nore place Did then adhere,

and yet you    would make both;/They have made themselves, and that their

fitness now/ Does      unmake you. I have given suck, and konw How tender 'tis

to love the babe that milks me:/ I would, while it was smiling in my face,/

Have pluck'd my nipple         from his boneless gums,/ And dash'd the brains

out, had I so sworn as you/ Have done to this.(1.7.48-59)

 

Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to follow through with the killing of King Duncan.

She's now the second persuasive factor which aids Macbeth into the tragic

demise which is soon to come. Now it is up to Macbeth to analyze his thoughts

and decide his fate.

 

        He great "hero of noble stature", Macbeth, chose the wrong path for

himself; he chose to follow his greed as well the depraved influences around him.

These components lead to his killing the king, killing innocent people like

women and children, which is cruel in itself, the loss of his morals and sanity,

the lose of love for his wife, and at the end of the play, the loss of his very

life. All that he worked for was "reversed as a result of his weakness", as

defined by the word tragic hero. His conversion from bad to good ultimately

affected his fortunes.

 

 

 

 
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