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Macbeth: Hero Or Villain Essay

4118 words - 16 pages

Macbeth: Hero or Villain

In this essay, I will be divulging into 'Macbeth' written by William
Shakespeare in 1603, to try and answer the question 'Was Macbeth a
true hero or villain in the play?'. Macbeth is a play of villainy,
murder, deceit and oftenly described as a 'play fit for a king'. In my
personal opinion, the evidence from Shakespeare's original text and
Roland Polanski's video version strongly suggests that Macbeth was a
true villain rather than a hero. An example of his villainy is the
fact that Macbeth assassinated his King to thrust himself to power in
Act 1, Scene 2. A second example is when Macbeth sends murderers to
kill the family of Macduff, a nobleman of Scotland, in Act 4, Scene 2.
Although I strongly believe that Macbeth is a villain, there is much
evidence that does suggest that Macbeth was in fact a hero. This
evidence is mainly shown in the opening scenes of the play, where we
see Macbeth leading Scotland to defeat against Norway as General of
the King's army. Here, his heroic qualities are shown when Macduff
refers to Macbeth as 'Brave Macbeth'.

The initial evidence in both the text and the video that suggests the
view that Macbeth is a hero mainly takes place in the opening scenes
of the play, Act 1, Scene 1 through to Scene 4. These scenes basically
show or refer to a battle between Scotland and Norway. In these
scenes, Macbeth is shown as General of the King's army, who
victoriously led his King and country to defeat against Norway. The
view that Macbeth was a hero at this point is evident when a sergeant
who was present at the battlefield refers to Macbeth's braveness and
courage when reporting to King Duncan concerning Macbeth's absolute
immense acts in battle. An extremely supportive quote made by Macduff,
a fellow nobleman of Scotland, which again supports the view that
Macbeth was a courageous, heroic man is stated below.

"Brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name"

Macduff, Act 1, Scene 1, Line 16

In my personal opinion, at this point of the play Macbeth was a hero
in all purity. This is mainly due to the fact that he was willing to
sacrifice his own life whilst fighting for his King and country. At
this point, Macbeth had a wide range of heroic qualities which made
people admire and respect him, including the fact that he was a
honest, brave, loyal, courageous leader and that he led his army by

In Act 1, Scene 4, we see Macbeth officially declared as the 'Thane of
Cawdor' by King Duncan for his courageous acts in battle against
Norway. I could initially interpret from both the text and the video
version that Duncan had a deep respect for Macbeth by the way he
addresses him in the scene. For example, 'thy worthiest cousin' and
'my worthy cawdor'. The respect in which Duncan gives Macbeth is
returned by Macbeth several...

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