Waste in Macbeth

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Waste in Macbeth

Throughout the play Macbeth, characters change and so do their relationships with other characters. Life is taken for granted, and tossed away as if it’s merely an old toy. Honour and potential of great men tarnished due to their greed and power hunger. The plot develops the idea that A.C Bradley proposes: The central feeling of a tragedy is one of waste. Macbeth is portrayed as a tragic hero, someone who has it all at first but decides to give it all up. Throughout the story the waste of potential, the waste of life and finally the waste of innocence are just some of the types of wastes that can be found, but they are enough to prove the theory. According to critic A.C. Bradley, the central feeling of a tragedy is one of waste.

It can be argued that Macbeth’s waste of his own innocence was not intentional, but forced upon by his wife, yet he ends up going through with the deed of killing Duncan. His waste of innocence was directly connected to his probable lack of morals and self esteem. He was persuaded to kill Duncan out of his wife’s question of his manliness. “I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more, is none.” (Macbeth, Act I, scene vii) The evidence shows that his innocence has allowed his wife to make him question his manliness and therefore his morals. But not only has Macbeth been persuaded to kill Duncan, but his innocence gets mocked as Lady Macbeth states “A little water clears us of this deed” (Lady Macbeth, Act II, scene ii). She portrays murder as merely a deed that can be simply washed away from the hands with water and therefore the mind as well. The waste of Macbeth’s innocence although unintentional to him, is what begins the waste concept.

The potential someone has is based on their character and their actions and how they incorporate the two into life situations. Yet both Macbeth’s actions and character seem to be weak and immoral. The waste of potential becomes evident as Macbeth turns from a hero...
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