Macbeth as a Tragic Hero

Topics: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Tragic hero Pages: 4 (1467 words) Published: April 18, 2011
To what extent do you think Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a tragic hero? The 17th century play, ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare, was written during a time when James the first became the first king of both Scotland and England. The characters in the play are also based upon his descendants. The play itself focuses on the character of Macbeth who is manipulated into committing regicide by 3 witches. As the play progresses, both him and his wife begin to lose all sense of morality, resulting with both of their deaths in the end. Macbeth is portrayed as a tragic hero, but it is debatable as to whether he is constructed by Shakespeare to follow a classical or renaissance model. At the start of the play, Macbeth is presented as a highly respected thane by King Duncan before the audience meet him. The characters in the play praise Macbeth, “For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name”, while they discuss the progression of the war. The use of the objective “brave” emphasises the respect that Macbeth is given. Shakespeare uses this adjec tive and later, another, “noble Macbeth” to infer that the characters have genuine admiration for his battle skills rather than feeling the need to attempt flattery. Macbeth’s battle skills are shown to be very brutal. “Till he unseam’d him from the nave to th’chaps” means that Macbeth has ripped the traitor, Macdonald, from his navel to his jaws. Even though Macbeth is applauded for his brutality, in hindsight, it is disputable as to whether it is a positive quality. Due to his loyalty, Macbeth has no need to feel guilt for killing anybody and he would almost feel pride. This infers that he not only applies these feelings when acting for the king, and that killing has become second nature for him. Shakespeare has chosen to give Macbeth a high status as this links to Macbeth being a tragic hero. To some extent, Shakespeare has presented Macbeth as an Aristotle classical tragic hero through the use of other characters in the play....
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