Macbeth as a Tragic Hero
William Shakespeare's plays have the reputation of being among the greatest in the English language and in Western literature. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. Macbeth play is believed to have been written between 1603 and 1607, and is most commonly dated 1606. It represents the character of Macbeth ,the protagonist, as a tragic hero. The classical idea of a tragic hero was first introduced by the ancient Greeks. The earliest known example of this was from Aristotle's 'Poetics'. There are many essential points that are needed to be fulfilled to allow a character to be a true tragic hero. Shakespeare’s perception, and our modern view, of tragedy are founded in Aristotle’s theories on the subject. Aristotelian tragedy, as described in Poetics, has shaped every form of dramatic art, from Ancient Greek theatre to big-budget, Hollywood blockbusters. According to Aristotle, tragic heroes must conform to a few rules, most notably: they should not be too good. Otherwise, an audience will feel that their downfalls are unjust. They should not be too bad. Otherwise, an audience will feel no sympathy for them. They must have an intrinsic character flaw ‘hamartia’, which causes them to do something horrific and instigates their fall from grace. A tragic hero is a person of noble birth with heroic or potentially heroic qualities. This person is fated by the Gods or by some supernatural force to doom and destruction or at least to great suffering. But the hero struggles mightly against this fate and this cosmic conflict wins our admiration. Because the tragic hero simply cannot accept a...
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