Is Macbeth A Hero

Good Essays
The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare tells the tragic tale of a nobleman and his wife’s descent into darkness as they conspire to take the throne of Scotland. The character of Macbeth possesses qualities that make him admirable, but these qualities are also the cause of his downfall. Throughout the play, Macbeth exhibits bravery, morality, and ambition—traits which appear heroic, but ultimately lead to his end.
To begin with, Macbeth is a very brave man, but as the play progresses his bravery quickly develops into recklessness. At the start of the play, an injured captain recounts to King Duncan of Scotland, Macbeth’s beheading of the traitorous Macdonwald:
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name— Disdaining fortune, with his brandished
…show more content…
However, this act of bravery soon comes to naught, as Macbeth becomes consumed with maintaining his power. After Macbeth meets with the witches, of whom he demands answers to his greatest fears, he decides, “The flighty purpose never is o'ertook / Unless the deed go with it. From this moment / The very firstlings of my heart shall be / The firstlings of my hand.” (4.1.144-147). Macbeth then proceeds to murder Macduff’s family in order to rid any threat to his throne, which demonstrates the reckless behaviour he has developed. The bravery for which Macbeth was once praised, now only fuels his ability to carry out such heinous acts. This rashness sends him into a downward spiral, until he is forced to face the consequences for his actions. As Malcolm leads an army against Macbeth, Macbeth finally encounters Macduff and exclaims, “Before my body, / I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, / and damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’” (5.8.32-34). Rather than retreat to his castle, Macbeth stands his ground. This shows that Macbeth still retains some of the soldierly qualities present at the beginning of the play, but it is this last act of bravery that causes his death—once and for all, ripping away all power he possessed. Though Macbeth’s bravery is what once made him a hero, it also enabled him to commit horrific crimes and led to his

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Throughout history, many tragic heroic figures have encountered a downfall. Not because they are malevolent or villainous, but because of a character flaw. In William Shakespeare's’ tragedy, Macbeth the main character Macbeth embodies the tragic hero persona. Though he is believed to be of nobility, he is blinded by greed, ambition and power to a gruesome end by those very traits which bring him fortune. Macbeth’s tragedy of his heroism occurs through battling his self conscience, secondly by pride and ego, finally by fear to protect his ambition.…

    • 554 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Macbeth: A Tragic Hero

    • 106 Words
    • 1 Page

    Even now knowing that MacDuff and an entire army is on their way to storm his castle, Macbeth refuses to flee. Soon you will find out what will happen to Macbeth and what his downfall will be. “Why should I play the roman fool and die on mine own sword?” (V. VIII.1-2) this means that Macbeth is saying was the point in me fighting Macduff because he already killed his whole family why would MacDuff be any more different. In a turn of events MacDuff kills and beheading Macbeth in order to end his rule as king and get revenge for Macbeth having his family…

    • 106 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Macbeth

    • 514 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Macbeth is introduced in the play as a strong fighter on the battle field but shortly after turns into a soldier that is easily considered to be weak. When Macbeth is on the battlefield fighting against Norway he gains respect as a soldier because he shows qualities of a leader. “For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valor’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements.(Shakespeare, Line 16).” In The beginning of the play it is easy to see how Macbeth could be seen as respectable, strong soldier because on the battlefield he fought hard and killed a lot of people. He put his life out for his king and his country and anyone who risks their own life for someone or something else demonstrates deep care. The play progresses when Macbeth is told by three witched that he could not be killed by someone who was born from a women which leads Macbeth to let his guard down from everyone, inferring that no man can kill him. Macbeth is shocked to find that Macduff is ripped out of his mother’s womb and is defeated by this information. “Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so, For it hath cowed my better part of man! And be these juggling fiends no more believed, that palter with us in a double sense, that keep the word of promise to our ear, And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee (Line 17).” Because Macbeth’s ego got in the way of his values as a soldier, It led him to become weak to an opponent, who before it would have been easy to kill. The witches prophecies allowed him to trust that he would never be harmed by someone women born, not allowing him to accept the technicalities that not everyone was born through natural labor. From Beginning to End, Macbeth’s ambition allowed his strength as a soldier to weaken.…

    • 514 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Macbeth Tragic Hero

    • 824 Words
    • 4 Pages

    A Shakespearean tragic hero may be defined as an exceptional being of high degree that contributes to his own degeneration and illustrates a personality flaw. The character of Shakespeare's Macbeth is a perfect example of a tragic hero. Macbeth can be defined as the tragic hero because he is noble by birth with many heroic qualities, but his ambition, combined with the witches' prophecies and the influence of Lady Macbeth leads to his degeneration of character, which brings on a tragedy.…

    • 824 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Macbeth: Tragic Hero

    • 1162 Words
    • 5 Pages

    A tragic hero is a character that is honorable and noble but possesses a significant character flaw that leads to his/her demise. Macbeth starts off the play as being a nobleman and proves to a brave general. Although, Macbeth’s tragic flaw throughout the play is his overpowering ambition to his rise as King. Different factors induced him to give in to his tragic flaw but ultimately it was how his reoccurring ignorance of how ambition will lead him to his demise and death. The rise and fall of Macbeth as a noble character due to his own character flaw is a classic example of a tragic hero.…

    • 1162 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    “Fair Is Foul”

    • 1721 Words
    • 7 Pages

    “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare is a play in which the central character, Macbeth, is vulnerable as well as heroic. Before Macbeth even appears in the play we learn of his vulnerability through the witches, who plan to meet Macbeth after the day’s battle;…

    • 1721 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Macbeth is a dramatic tragedy written by William Shakespeare in the early 1600’s. The play opens with three witches, who decide to confront the Scottish general, Macbeth, on his return from the war between Scotland and Norway, in which he was victorious. The witches predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and, later, become king. They also predict that Banquo, another Scottish general, will not be king himself but an ancestor of kings. Later Duncan, the king of Scotland, decides that he will award the title of Thane of Cawdor to Macbeth, exciting him as he now considers the possibility of becoming king. Macbeth returns with Duncan who is to stay with them overnight. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to murder Duncan, as she is determined for Macbeth to become king. Macbeth kills Duncan and smears blood on the guard’s daggers, framing them for the murder. Macbeth is now made king as Malcolm, Duncan’s son, flees Scotland. Macbeth now try’s to murder Banquo and his son, Fleance, but Fleance escapes. Banquo’s ghost returns to haunt Macbeth so Macbeth returns to the witches once more. They tell him to be wary of Macduff, Thane of Fife; that he cannot be harmed by one ‘born of woman’ and that he will never be defeated until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane. Macbeth orders the deaths of Macduff’s family, whilst he is visiting Malcolm in England, for not cooperating with him. Malcolm and Macduff now lead an army to Macbeth’s castle at Dunsinane. Lady Macbeth has gone insane and commits suicide. Malcolm’s army use the tree’s of Birnam Wood as camouflage and manage to defeat Macbeth’s army. Macduff, who ‘was from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d’, kills Macbeth and Malcolm is now made King of Scotland. The purpose of my essay is to describe the main causes of Macbeths decline from the noble hero he is portrayed as at the start to the…

    • 2379 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The start of the play depicts Macbeth as a valiant and courageous character. We are introduced to Macbeth by a Captain, who is reporting the events of the battle to King Duncan, as he says: “For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like Valour’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave, Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’chaps And fixed his head upon our battlements. ” Here, the readers get an impression that Macbeth is a brave and patriotic soldier, fighting on behalf of King Duncan. Furthermore, it also shows to us that Macbeth has fought well and is receiving praise from the King.…

    • 392 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, the lead character travels an emotional journey from esteemed noblemen to violent murderer. These actions lead to a series of unfortunate events which Macbeth is found responsible for. As tension in the kingdom rises, corruption of Macbeth’s mental ability begins to occur. Macbeth’s mental deterioration is the cause for his poor rational decisions which lead to his downfall. In the play, Macbeth experiences hallucinations, paranoia and overwhelming blind ambition; factors which consume his good qualities and result in his demise.…

    • 1605 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The character of Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. Macbeth's achieves his long time desire to be king, but his tragic flaw brings him to ruin. His character changes drastically during the play. At the opening of the play, Macbeth is considered strong and noble. As the play progress he is corrupted by many factors including: his wife's manipulation of his judgment, his curiosity about the witch's prophecy, and his ambition to be king. At the end of the play, Macbeth's own subjects bring him to his death because of his cruelty and weakness as a king.…

    • 804 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Me is My Name

    • 316 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Macbeth is a tragic hero through and through. However his actions cause resentment amongst the audience, so instead of feeling sorrow at his demise as we would for Othello, Hamlet, or King Lear, we feel relief that such a tyrant is dead. But in truth, there was a story, there was a human inside this tyrant. He is literary proof as to the dangers of ambition.…

    • 316 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Tragedy always involves human suffering, but not everyone who suffers is a Tragic Hero. In many of Shakespeare’s plays, the protagonist’s character embodies those characteristics of a Tragic Hero. Due to their flaws, a Tragic Hero’s actions are often heinous and cause great internal conflict. In William Shakespeare’s Mactbeth, there are many factors that contribute to the decline of Macbeth, such as the witches’ prophecies and Lady Macbeth, turning him from a noble man to a self conceited and violent individual. Because of Macbeth’s tragic flaws, he falls from prominence, eventually leading to self ruin. Macbeth is a tragic hero because of his beginnings as a nobleman and gradually being ruined by his own superstition, pride, and ambition, developing the play Macbeth into a tragedy.…

    • 1050 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Theme Of Power In Macbeth

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Macbeth, a dark and gruesome tragic play written by William Shakespeare primarily discusses the concept of greed for more authority. Emasculation and the Great Chain of Being are some core components of this play that are discussed through gothic poetry. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are the main characters in the play. Through Macbeth’s catalyst, his wife, he found the strength to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth was his agent in many of the scenes in the play. Their compatible pairing lead to many “successes”, but also to their own deaths. Shakespeare brilliantly uses garment metaphors throughout the play as well as the innocent flower and crafty serpent motif to express Macbeth’s mindset and tragedy.…

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    “In tragedy people are tested by great suffering and must face decisions of ultimate consequence. Some meet the challenge with deeds of despicable cruelty, while others demonstrate their ability to confront and surpass adversity, winning our admiration and proving the greatness of human potential” (Aristotle). The character Macbeth is an archetypal paragon in Shakespearean literature; he truly embodies the title of the tragic hero. The aspects that lead to the Protagonist’s downfall are countless; three major factors contribute to his progression to the tragic hero. The first being the prophecies from the witches, Lady Macbeth’s malicious influence that disoriented his counsel and lastly his ambition to achieve greatness by becoming King.…

    • 1592 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Shakespeare’s masterpiece of a play, ‘Macbeth’, carefully depicts that Macbeth’s character was not ruined by fate but rather by damaging errors in his personality. Macbeth’s dangerous quality of ambition brings about his downfall as well as his treachery against his king, his tyranny and also his imaginativeness that eventually lures him into the murder. Although Shakespeare suggests that Macbeth’s decisions were greatly influenced by other characters in his text, it was Macbeth that ultimately decided to listen to these influences due to the many faults in his character.…

    • 88 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays