How Does Shakespeare Retain a Degree of Sympathy for Macbeth

Topics: Macbeth, King Duncan, Banquo Pages: 3 (841 words) Published: November 3, 2012
How does Shakespeare retain a degree of sympathy for Macbeth through to the end of the play?

“Not in the legions
Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d
In Evils to top Macbeth”

If a play is to function as a tragedy, we, the audience, should feel a certain degree of sympathy for the protagonist through to the close of the play. In my opinion, however, Shakespeare fails to retain this in his timeless classic, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”. From the start of the play it is clear that Macbeth is a reckless warrior, almost barbaric in nature. He is a weak character, who is easily manipulated by his ruthless wife and the three malevolent witches. He ignores the advice of his shrewd, loyal friend and abandons his own moral instincts; engaging on a murderous rampage fuelled by his “vaulting ambition” and lust for power. Is it not poetic justice, that he should be tormented continually by his conscience and eventually slain by the noble Macduff; the personification of noble goodness and patriotism?

* In spite of the pleasing account given of Macbeth’s bravery in battle, in the second scene, I immediately didn’t warm to his character.,( “Brave Macbeth”, “Valour’s minion”) * In my view, a more disturbing aspect of his character overshadowed his positive attributes. “unseam’d him from the nave to chops” * Because of this immediate distrust I gained for Macbeth; I found it difficult to feel any sympathy for him in the later stages of the play.

* uhcUpon meeting the witches and hearing their interesting predictions, he is warned about the possible motive behind the witches predictions by his noble friend, Banquo. “instruments of darkness” “win us to our harm”

* Macbeth is well aware that Banquo is very shrewd, as he outlines later in his soliloquy Act 3 scene 1 “He hasth wisdom that doth guide his valor/ To ast in safety”

* However, Macbeth is blinded by greed and lust for power and decides to ignore Banquo’s words.

* This...
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