Mac Beth As A Tragic Hero Paper

863 words - 4 pages

Is Macbeth the tragic hero of the play 'Macbeth?' This question may seem to be redundant; however, not all of Shakespeare's Tragedies are named after their tragic heroes. For example, Julius Caesar is not the tragic hero of 'Julius Caesar.' A tragic hero must conform to a set of characteristics which evolved all the way from ancient to medieval times. Macbeth conforms to these characteristics and is the tragic hero of 'Macbeth.'The death of an ordinary person in Medieval times was not considered tragic. This idea was based on the notion of 'fall'. If a peasant died, his death meant very little because he had not far to fall. In other words, a peasant did not have much of a life to lose. However, if a king or noble were to die, his death would be a very long fall, since to the Medieval mind, he had a great deal to lose. Macbeth is a very important person. He is a cousin to the king of Scotland. He is the highest ranking noble, the thane of Cawdor and Glamis, and a general of the Scottish army. He also becomes the king of Scotland later in the play. Despite his status, he has a character defect.A tragic hero must have a character flaw. This character flaw causes him to make an error in judgment, 'a mistaken act,' which leads to his downfall. Because Macbeth is ambitious, he wants to become king. In order to take over the throne, he kills Duncan, and thus commits his terrible crime, and eventually is punished.The tragic hero must deserve his fate. He must not simply make a mistake, like stepping off a curb in front of a moving vehicle. He must commit some terrible crime for which he is punished. People of the Elizabethan Period were well aware of the problems created when kings are murdered. The Fifteenth Century was a period of almost constant ruinous civil war in England. The dire consequences of this act are a constant theme in Shakespeare's plays. According to the medieval Theory of Divine Right, God appoints the king, thus Macbeth committed a religious crime when he kills the king. This is also the highest form of treason that one could commit. Moreover, Duncan is no ordinary king. He has been a great king. Even Macbeth says of him, 'Besides, this Duncan / hath borne his faculties so meek hath been /So clear in his great office,' (Shakespeare 57) This, of course, makes the crime even worse. After all he is not killing a bad king. But did Macbeth decide to kill Duncan by himself? Who persuaded Macbeth to kill Duncan?As with every tragic hero in Shakespearean times, Macbeth must be tempted or persuaded to commit a crime. Lady Macbeth is the catalyst. She does a very good job of persuading Macbeth to kill Duncan. When Macbeth refuses to kill Duncan, she says, ' And live a coward in thine own esteem,' (Shakespeare 59) She also says she is braver than he is when she says, ' I would, while it was smiling in my face, / Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, / And dashed the brains out, had I sworn / As you have to this.' (Shakespeare 59) This infuriates Macbeth, which in turn sparks his ambition to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth is very clever because she uses Macbeth's good quality, his bravery, against him.By giving him a good quality, the author creates sympathy for Macbeth. Philosophers, such as Aristotle, believed that the audience must feel sympathy for the tragic hero; otherwise, it was not considered a good play because the audience could not empathize with the tragic hero.( Abram 190) Macbeth has a very good quality which his courage. He says, ' I'll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked. / Give me my armor.' (Shakespeare 225) He says this even though he realizes he will die.The tragic hero and everyone associated with him must die. Macbeth should die because he has committed both treason and a religious crime. Macbeth is killed by Macduff as revenge for the murder of Macduff's family. Lady Macbeth commits suicide towards the end of the play, and Macbeth's followers are killed in the last battle of the play.Is Macbeth the tragic hero? Macbeth fits all of the characteristics of a tragic hero. He is an important character in the play, has a character flaw, has one good quality, has someone to tempt him, deserves his fate, and was punished for the crime which he has committed. Macbeth definitely is the tragic hero of 'Macbeth.'Works CitedAbrams, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Holt, Rinehart and Winston: Toronto,1985.189-192.Shakespeare, William. 'Macbeth' Ed. Margaret Kortes. Toronto: Harbrace Brace,1988.

RELATED

Essay On Macbeth A Tragic Hero

597 words - 3 pages Free with the lowliest of dogs. Inthe next act, Act 4 three witches use very lowly animals to describe Macbeths kingship. Insc. 1 lines 1-30 the witches say that Macbeths is very similar to the hedgehog, toads andlizards. These animals describe Macbeth in different ways. The hedge hog shows thatMacbeth is as greedy as a pig. The lizard shows that he is as slippery and slimy as a lizard.Finally the toad might be symbolic of Macbeths soul, his soul is

Assignment On Macbeth: Tragic Hero

928 words - 4 pages Macbeth: Tragic HeroIn Ancient Greece, legendary philosopher Aristotle defined the term "tragic hero" under a set of 4 strict characteristics. One must be noble of birth, have a tragic flaw, a reversal of fortune, and must discover that the reversal was brought by his own actions. As William Shakespeare was writing Macbeth, he took these characteristics and used them to mold his main character, Macbeth. Throughout history, Macbeth has become a

How Macbeth is a Tragic Hero Analysis - AP English Literature - Essay

607 words - 3 pages Tragic heroes in stories are known as tragic because while they are heroes, they have a flaw that causes them to bring pain and suffering to themselves or those around them. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth starts off as a hero straight off the battlefield that kills a traitor for king Duncan and becomes a hero. As the play goes on, however, Macbeth's ultimate desire for power causes him to hurt people around him that he once cared about and

Essay On King Lear As Tragic Hero

1260 words - 6 pages A tragedy in Shakespearean terms could be defined as a drama or literary work in which the main character, the tragic hero, is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances, such as death (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition). The main character in the play King Lear is Lear himself, the

Assignment On A Tragic Hero

849 words - 4 pages Free . The fall is not pure loss. And though it arouses solemn emotion, tragedy does not leave the audience in a state of depression. Using Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero, we will show that Oedipus in Oedipus the King is in fact a tragic hero and how his decisions led to his downfall.Oedipus grew up the son of a king. This alone would give him all rights to being born of a noble stature. As we learn in the story this stays true since his real

John Proctor as a Tragic Hero in The Crucible - English - Essay

1206 words - 5 pages Free John Proctor as a Tragic Hero in The Crucible The ancient Greeks invented tragedy for theater in order to explore concepts of humanity like duty, suffering, and fate. These tragedies would often follow the story of a good character whose downfall was brought by their own flaws. Although they have suffered, the character accepts their ultimate demise with dignity. This archetype is known as the tragic hero. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John

Perception Of A Tragic Hero: "Hamlet"

1692 words - 7 pages Perceptions and understanding of Shakespearean language evolve as time passes. It is reasonable to believe that Laertes is more of a tragic hero than Hamlet. In order for this to be seen effectively, a comparison must be made between Laertes and Hamlet. In the play Hamlet, Laertes is a character who grabs the audience's attention. His devotion to succeed, despite disadvantages is both motivational and tragic situations, is inspirational to some

The Five Stages Of A Tragic Hero And Oedipus' Going Through Them

619 words - 3 pages The True Tragic HeroIn Sophocles' play Oedipus Rex, every reader is riding a roller coaster of his life. Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero is one person who goes through five stages which in Sophocles' play the main character Oedipus does. The five stages that he goes through are pre-eminence, flaw, fall, gaining of insight, and rise.Pre-eminent is one who surpasses all the others or should be looked up to. Oedipus at the beginning of the

Nancy Wake was a spy in WWII. This essay shows how her actions portray her as a hero. - Grade 10 - Essay

1455 words - 6 pages White Mouse: A Secret Hero As she cautiously walked along the pitch black streets, making sure that no Nazi had noticed what she had been doing this late at night, Nancy Wake spotted her next target. The hero archetype displays the quality of goodness no matter the obstacles they are struck with and seeks to maintain harmony and justice in society. During the time period of World War II, the life of Nancy Wake as a spy involved many dangers and

'Macbeth is basically a man of conscience but with a fatal weakness: ambition. Discuss. - English - Essay

506 words - 3 pages In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth is a tragic hero. Although his ambition let him be responsible for the murders, Lady Macbeth and witches are influenced greatly than himself. Witches give the prophecies to Macbeth and guide him to murder as well as Lady Macbeth encourages her husband in a wrong way. These all result Macbeth’s failure the murder. However, Macbeth’s strong ambition become so that he kills Banquo and Macduff's wife and son alone. The

Essay on Macbeth: Hurt to see great man fall - College Assignment - Essay

517 words - 3 pages considered a tragic hero because he took matters into his hands and didn’t trust destiny. Macbeth was a amazing warrior and everyone thought highly of him. "Brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name" (1.2.16). His strength as a general won him the battle as described by the captain. This shows Macbeth is respected. Macbeth has some good side, but he is definitely flawed and commits a number of evil acts over the course of the play. “All hail

Macbeth Analysis How ambition drives the evil within Macbeth - British Literature - Essay

950 words - 4 pages would be made king in the future. When Macbeth learned of this prophecy, it lit a fire inside of him, and sparked his ambition. Macbeth then goes on to commit the many tragedies that occur during the play, including the murders of Duncan, Banquo, and the Macduff family. In the beginning of act I of Macbeth, Macbeth is being hailed a hero for his defeat of Macdonwald. After this occurs, Banquo and Macbeth speak with the witches, where they tell of

English 4 1.11 Macbeth Observation, Interpretation, And Critique

336 words - 2 pages English 4 1.11 Macbeth Observation, Interpretation, and CritiqueIn William Shakespeare's story Macbeth, the hero, faces a conflict that impacts how the play will go and delivers a message within the story. The conflict starts with the prophecies of the Weird Sisters and later on gets worse from the trickery of Lady Macbeth. The result concludes a series of repeating thoughts running through Macbeth's mind, whether to kill or not to kill

How much is Macbeth a victim of the forces of evil and what degree does he embrace evil - English - Essay

727 words - 3 pages of the villain turn to hero but here it is in reverse. But in Macbeth the evil is transferred from the villains to the hero and the heroine. For instance, Macbeth, the hero of the playstands as a perfect embodiment of the disintegration of the individual under the influence of evil. At the start of the play he is a very successful and highly esteemed member of a social group, loaded with honours and enjoying every prospect of further commendation. He has a loving wife and a secure home in his castle at Inverness.

Cyrano Essay: the character arch - English 1100 - Essay

1175 words - 5 pages Samuel Shapiro Mrs. Strasser 1/2/12 Cyrano de Bergerac: Tragedy Nose No Limits While many works of fiction portray love through a utopian perspective where true love is easy to achieve, the story of Cyrano follows a failed quest for intimacy, where Cyrano’s own tragic flaws stop him from achieving the romance he dreams of. It is these same tragic flaws that help to define Cyrano as a tragic hero in Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac