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Is Macbeth a Shakespearean Tragic Hero ?

Uploaded by jrblacky on Sep 29, 2001

In this essay, I will attempt to answer the above question, Is Macbeth a Shakespearean Tragic Hero ? To do this, I will need to do a number of things.

Firstly, I will need to establish what a Shakespearean Tragic Hero is. Afterwards, I will look at Macbeth’s character, actions, dialogue and the dynamics of the play to come to my own conclusions and ascertain whether Macbeth is a Shakespearean Tragic Hero.

In order to answer the above question with any degree of competency, it is necessary to have an effective and confident knowledge of what a Shakespearean Tragic Hero is.

Within the works of Shakespeare, a Tragic Hero is a common figure in many of them.

A Tragic Hero is usually a figure of royalty, fame or greatness. This person is predominantly good but falls from prominence due to flaws in their personality, possibly due to conspiracies against them.

Due to their flaws, a Tragic Hero’s actions are often evil or atrocious and throughout the play, the Tragic Hero suffers due to their actions and battles with their conscience even after their specific desire has been reached or accomplished.

Throughout the Hero’s suffering, other characters also suffer. These characters include the people of the country concerned, family and friends and even nature in some cases.

Even after committing such crimes, the battles with conscience trigger empathy from the audience. A Shakespearean Tragic Hero will always lose their lives at the end of the play, usually as a result of the re-establishment of what is good in the play, which opposes the Tragic Hero.

At the beginning of the play Macbeth already has a degree of responsibility or greatness about him. He has the title,

‘Thane of Glamis’

and early in the play, he is also granted with the title,

‘Thane of Cawdor’

Although this establishes his recognition as an important figure of responsibility, it does not tell the reader much about Macbeth’s personality. The very fact that Macbeth has these titles, however, shows us his greatness and establishes the fact that he is good, and this is reiterated by the quotation,

‘For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name.’

These lines, spoken by the Captain, praise Macbeth hugely, telling us of his bravery and how he deserves the title ‘brave’. This quotation proves that Macbeth is greatly praised by all, even the King who says,

‘O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman’

and establishes Macbeth as being good and great at the beginning of the...

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Uploaded by:   jrblacky

Date:   09/29/2001

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   10 pages (2,258 words)

Views:   2686

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