Sad, Bad, or Mad? Do You Consider Macbeth to Be a Tragic Hero, Evil, or Bewitched?

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  • Topic: Macbeth, Murder, Macbeth of Scotland
  • Pages : 13 (4698 words )
  • Download(s) : 82
  • Published : October 12, 2008
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A tragic hero is someone who must begin noble and good, but is imperfect, so that the audience can see themselves in him. They are doomed from the start. In Macbeth’s case the witches are first on stage, and are planning to meet with Macbeth in the very beginning. FIRST WITCH When shall we meet again? …

THIRD WITCH There to meet with Macbeth.
This shows that the witches are already plotting Macbeth’s fate. A tragic hero must make a wrong decision himself or has a character flaw (ambitious, greedy…) which leads them down a path of bad events because of that one choice. They must realise what they have done, so this makes the audience feel sorry for the hero. The audience also feels fear because they know that the choice they made had led the character down a path of evil from which they cannot turn back. This follows Aristotle’s theory of tragedy which should inspire pity and fear in the audience. It can’t be stopped until the events have worked themselves out and their natural order restored.

The real Macbeth lived 1005-1057, and he ruled for 17 years. That proves that he must have been a good king and he created peace and order. He was also buried on Iona which was the traditional place for Scottish kings. When Macbeth was killed, his son, Lulach, took the throne, but he was nicknamed ‘Simple’ so only riened for one year. Banquo is real in the play, his character is changed but he was involved in killing Duncan. James thought he could trace his ancestry back to Banquo. 1603 James I (already James VI of Scotland) – Shakespeare wanted to impress the new king so he decided to write a Scottish play. James believed in the divine right of kings. If you kill kings you come to a horrible end. Killing kings was thought of as a crime against God and witches were associated with death. James was fascinated by witches- believed in them. He even wrote a book about attacking witchcraft, it was called: Daemonology. In 1590 Dr Fran and the witches of Berwick were tortured and made to confess. Shakespeare adapted his historical characters and events in a play which he hoped would please the new king.

At the start of the play you see Macbeth’s character in several different ways. He has been fighting well in battle.
‘…Like valour’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave;’ Macbeth sounds brutal but brave as well. You could say that Macbeth is a killer, but you could also say that he is noble and doing his duty for his king and country. In general Macbeth seems to have been respected: ‘Worthy gentleman!’

Just before Macbeth and Banquo meet with the witches Macbeth says: ‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen.’ In scene 1 the witches have already said: ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair.’ You could say that this shows that Macbeth already has some sort of connection with the witches, which backs up the idea that he is bewitched later on in the play.

Macbeth’s first reaction to the witches is disbelief and he questions the witches. But he also seemed eager to know more: ‘Tell me more.’ ‘would they had stayed…’ Macbeth was hoping and believing the witches predictions, even though he has only just met them.

I think that when Macbeth is made Thane of Cawdor it is an important part of the play. I think this because it’s when Macbeth starts to actually believe in what the witches told him. And most importantly he starts to consider the idea of murdering Duncan: ‘My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical.’ Macbeth was just fantasising about murdering Duncan and the good consequences for him. There was no reality in it. I think that if it wasn’t for the witches, Macbeth would never have even thought about murdering Duncan to become king. But you could argue that Macbeth may have been considering it anyway, but the witches just encouraged the idea and recognised the weakness in his character. Before Macbeth met with the witches, he was said to have been fighting well:...
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