How Does William Shakespeare Utilise the Genre of Tragedy in the Play, Macbeth.

Topics: Macbeth, Three Witches, Duncan I of Scotland Pages: 2 (808 words) Published: November 26, 2012
How does William Shakespeare utilise the genre of tragedy in the play, Macbeth.

The utilisation of the genre tragedy in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth is apparent through the actions that lead up to the tragic death of the plays hero. Other elements needed to classify a play as a tragedy are abnormal conditions of the mind and both inner and outer conflicts. The play consists of prophecies given to Macbeth, leading to the murder of innocents King Duncan, Banquo and Macduff’s family. Insanity takes a hold on Macbeth and his wife, as she kills herself. Macduff, not being born of a woman, slays Macbeth and restores the throne of Scotland to Malcolm. Through the plot, and other aspects of this play, Macbeth contains the correct standards for it to be classed as a tragedy. Macbeth can be classified as a tragedy, as it contains the death of a hero. The hero is Macbeth, an honourable man, loyal to the crown, before being corrupted by his wife, Lady Macbeth and the prophecies brought onto him by three witches. “Gentlemen rise; his highness is not well” (III, IV, LII), is stating that Macbeth is becoming mentally distorted and is losing his heroic traits, until he is killed in a duel, which brings harmony back into Scotland. Through the life and death of Macbeth, the use of the genre tragedy is apparent in the play. The genre tragedy is also evident in Macbeth by the progressively deteriorating mental conditions of the characters after the murder of King Duncan. This is shown through abnormal conditions of the mind, in which Lady Macbeth sleepwalks during Act 5 Scene 1, mindlessly rubbing her hands together, portraying the action of hand washing. “What, will these hands ne’er be clean?” (V, I, XLII) is a line in Macbeth which signifies the never-ending guilt that Lady Macbeth felt, which she had hoped would have been inexistent after the physical blood of Duncan had been washed from her hands. In the closing stages of the play, “By self and violent hands took...
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