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Macbeth: Tragedy

Uploaded by jester_828 on Jun 07, 2001

According to the classical view, tragedy should arouse feelings of pity and fear in the audience. Does macbeth do this?


Shakespeare’s Macbeth is definitely a tragedy in the sense that it arouses feelings of pity and fear in the audience. Macbeth is a weak minded man who, if sees an opportunity for power follows his ambitions and takes it, even if this is not the rightful thing to do. He is easily persuaded and suffers great guilt. Macbeth the character on his own creates the feeling of pity and fear in the audience. This added to the abundance of other developed characters creates a great tragedy.

Pity is felt by the audience at many times. These feeling of pity are quite strong in some instances. The first example of pity is the general feeling for Duncan, Banquo and Macduff and his family after being slaughtered by Macbeth for the only reason of his personal ambition. Duncan was a fair and good king, and had even shown gratitude to Macbeth and Banquo after the battle in Act I. Also there is pity towards Macduff, who after leaving the country returns to find his wife and child murdered. The audience can relate to this by the unfairness in which they were killed in cold blood by Macbeth.

The second example of pity in Macbeth is for Macbeth. Even though he had just assassinated Duncan he regretted it and realised what he had done wrong. He realised that Lady Macbeth had encouraged him incorrectly and he was sincerely scared for what he had done:

“I am afraid to think what I have done. Look on’t again I dare not”

Act II Scene ii
The audience feels pitiful for Macbeth because he knows he has made a mistake and he is suffering for it through the guilt and his conscience.

Thirdly the audience feels pity for Macbeth when he sees the vision. Macbeth’s mental state deteriorates severely after killing Duncan, and seeing the ghost of Banquo at his own dinner party in front of the lords do not help his cause.

“If trembling I inhabit then, protest me The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence!”

Act III Scene iv
Macbeth is scared at this point. For a great warrior king to be scared is a big deal in the eyes of the lords and the audience. The audience feels pity for him because he is at a...

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Uploaded by:   jester_828

Date:   06/07/2001

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   4 pages (891 words)

Views:   2500

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