Macbeth: Not A Hero Essay

1185 words - 5 pages

What makes a hero a hero? By definition, a hero display courage in adverse situations and who are willing to self-sacrifice in positions of weakness. Based on this definition, the character of Macbeth is not a hero but a man whose lust for power led to his own destruction and take opposition against Ian Johnston’s Introduction to Macbeth. I believe that the character of Macbeth in Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth is not a hero because he was responsible for killing Duncan, murdered people on unjustified grounds, and was the cause of his own demise
In Johnston’s lecture he says that Macbeth cannot be held accountable for the death of Duncan. The lecture says, “His (Macbeth) imagination has committed him to evil before his conscious mind realizes that the decision has been made.” The lecture further breaks down the state of Macbeth’s mind and exactly how Duncan’s death occurs. Johnson makes a good point on Macbeth’s mental behavior, but it should also be said that he agreed to kill Duncan before he even entered the room. In Act 2 scene 1 Macbeth says, “I go and it is done. The bell invites me/ Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell/ That summons thee to heaven or to hell.” He has come to consensus that he will kill Duncan and that his soul will face the entrance of heaven or hell. I am certain of Macbeth’s obvious consent to killing Duncan. Later in that act, after Duncan’s death, Macbeth goes to see his wife to tell her that Duncan is dead. They then begin to discuss the all the incidents that occurred after his death, like the owl hooting. Macbeth tells his wife, “Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!/Macbeth does murder sleep”- the innocent sleep,/ Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,/ The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,/ Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,/ Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” Macbeth’s tirade about his murder of sleep shows that part of him has died along with Duncan. I think that if he truly did not want to kill his beloved cousin, then he wouldn’t have regardless of his wife’s influence. His conscious should have recognized the moral peril he faced. Because killing Duncan killed a part of Macbeth and transformed him into murderous tyrant.
As the play progresses, Macbeth, without the aid of anyone, continues to kill people like Banquo who is supposedly his best friend. At the beginning of Act 3 Banquo says, “Thou hast it now – King, Cawdor, Glamis, all/ As the Weird Women promised, and I fear/ Thou (Macbeth) played’st most foully for’t”. Banquo fears that Macbeth murdered Duncan and because he and his son were a liability to Macbeth’s throne, he hires contract killers to have them murdered. Later in the first scene of Act 3 Macbeth is talking to the hired murderers about his plans for Banquo and Fleance. He tells them, “I will advise you where to plant yourselves,/ Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’ th’ time,/ The moment on ‘t, for ‘t must be done tonight/ And something from the...

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