Macbeth As A Tragic Hero Essay

1028 words - 5 pages

The tragic hero has been a major storytelling tool in recent years that makes the audience relate to, respect, and feel sympathy for a character which is undone by the end of the story. But can this title be given to Macbeth, the titular hero of the Shakespeare play by the same name? Yes, absolutely- Shakespeare’s Macbeth follows this plot path in numerous ways. Throughout the play, we are introduced to Macbeth’s belovedness, the crushing of said established belovedness, and his own undoing.

Initially, Macbeth is introduced to the play as a noble war hero with endless talent as a tactician, a truly admirable character. In an early scene of the play, the sergeant speaks very highly of ...view middle of the document...

vii.31). Because Macbeth is manipulated into murdering Duncan and is always “within breathing distance of innocence” as said by Lisa Lou, we are drawn to him as a character.

However, once Shakespeare has established our sympathy and love for Macbeth, he proceeds to tear it apart little by little. After Macbeth has eliminated Duncan, he deems it necessary himself that Banquo must be murdered, but without any convincing required this time. Hiring the two murderers, he tells them “So he is mine; and in such bloody distance,/That every minute of his being thrusts/against my near’st of life” (III.i.116-118). The way Macbeth speaks so coldly of his former best friend makes it apparent that he is changing for the worse. At the banquet, Macbeth’s behavior further demonstrates his mind’s downward spiral. Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo and yells “Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee!” (III.iv.93) and Lady Macbeth later tells him “You have displac’d the mirth, broke the/good meeting” (III.iv.107-109). Macbeth’s mad rambling and poor Lady Macbeth’s reaction draws a sense of pity from the audience for Macbeth and sympathy for his wife, who is stuck with the monster she has created. At this point, the audience is already likely to be rearing at Macbeth, but to make matters even worse, he decides he is going to kill Macduff’s entire family. Scheming to himself, Macbeth says “The castle of MAcduff I will surprise,/Seize upon Fife: give to the edge o’ the sword/His wife, his babes, and all the unfortunate souls/That trace him in his line” (IV.i.150-153). With such a disgusting act of greed and powertripping, Macbeth has ended all respect the audience could possibly have for him at this point.

Macbeth may have needed help tipping the first domino, but after that, everything contributing to his downfall was his own work, a classic element to the tragic hero. After being crowned king,...

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