Compare and Contrast Between Shakesperean Tragic Heroes

Topics: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Tragic hero Pages: 4 (1386 words) Published: January 2, 2009
Compare and Contrast Essay
Shakespeare Tragic Heroes: Macbeth and Brutus

Kyla Yu
English 11
August 4th, 2008

William Shakespeare is a world renowned English poet and playwright famous for many tragic plays such as Macbeth and Julius Caesar. These two plays both contain tragic heroes with Marcus Brutus from Julius Caesar, and Macbeth from Macbeth. A tragic hero is defined as a protagonist of high standing with heroic or potential heroic abilities who must oppose some external or internal force. A tragic hero needs to have a “tragic flaw” where a character has too much or too little of one of Aristotle’s twelve virtues. Macbeth and Brutus are both considered tragic heroes but have many similarities as well as differences.

Firstly, Macbeth and Brutus acted for different reasons but they both got caught in situations that they couldn’t escape from. Brutus truly and honestly believed that he had to kill Julius Caesar to give the Romans a better life and he proves this when he says, "To prick us to redress? What other bond then secret Romans, that have spoke the word, And will not palter? And that other oath then honesty to honesty engaged that this shall be, or we will fall for it". Meanwhile, Macbeth merely killed left and right for his own gain, starting with the murder of the king, Duncan. Macbeth killed many people he loved including his best friend, Banquo, and the families of his opponents; therefore, he was merciless with men, women, and children all being the same to him. Macbeth was caught up in his own evil plans to obtain the throne that he didn’t even feel anything after his first kill; he started hiring murderers to do his dirty deeds for him instead. Brutus only killed his best friend, Caesar, because it was the only death that he thought was necessary. In the end, Macbeth and Brutus ended up in similar situations where they lost their power and their lives.

Secondly, Macbeth and Brutus are both similar and different when it comes to...
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