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Macbeth as a tragic hero
Macbeth as a Tragic Hero.
When William Shakespeare created “Macbeth”, he included in the title character all the key elements of a tragic hero. Macbeth has a decline from his good standing, reaches a lowest point and soon after turns himself around, the epiphany, and finally rises in his morals and standing; however it is too late and his death is apparent. Macbeth’s decline begins when he heeds the witches prophecies. His lowest point is reached when he decides that life does not matter to him anymore, soon followed by his epiphany when he decides that he will fight honorably even if it means his death. He then raises his moral standing and regains his honor. Through well written literature, William Shakespeare is able to portray Macbeth as a typical tragic hero.
Macbeth, originally an outstanding citizen of Scotland and valiant fighter for his king, has a quick and sudden decline from his good standing when he first listens to the witches and begins to plot in his mind. Macbeth was at one time a good and noble person. Acquiring the titles of thane of Glamis and thane of Cowdor through his good fighting and nobility. Macbeth is then quickly turned to the dark side when he begins to think about the witches prophecies in his mind. When Macbeth begins to talk about the murder and decides to commit it he says:
“I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with the fairest show;
False face must hide what the false heart doth know” (Shakespeare, 205).
This is the point where, as he says, he commits his entire being to committing the murder. The old, honorable Macbeth would never conceive such an idea. Macbeth continues his downward spiral even further when he kills his best friend, Banquo, kills an innocent woman and her entire family, Lady Macduff and family, and also with his lack of reaction to his wife’s own suicide. This concludes his downward fall, but his lowest point is yet to come.
Macbeth reaches his lowest point in his life when he makes a statement equivalent to life does not matter. This would be a low point in anyone’s life. Macbeth states:
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing” (Shakespeare, 257).
When he says this, he has more or less lost all hope and apparently does not care about his life; however, he soon reaches his epiphany. Macbeth’s epiphany is when he tells Macduff that he should not fight with him because he will kill him since he cannot be harmed by a woman born person. This shows he has respect once again for human life and has regained his nobility. However, it is soon revealed that Macduff was removed early from his mother’s womb and therefore was not born of woman.
When Macbeth learns that Macduff will probably kill him, he decides to fight regardless. This is honorable and further proves that Macbeth has regained his nobility. He says, “Yet I will try the last….Lay on, Macduff, and damned be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’” (Shakespeare, 260). There clearly is not a lot of time in the play after Macbeth has his epiphany, but during the short period, Macbeth regains his honor. This is the final act of the play, and the final stage in his life as an tragic hero.
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s classic tragic heroes. Macbeth falls from good standing, reaches a low point, hits the epiphany, and finally rises in his nobility, only to be killed. At least though Macbeth dies with his honor. Tragic heroes always live on in literature. I think that this is because people will always be able to relate to them and share the pain with the hero. Shakespeare’s tragedies like “Macbeth” have been around for hundreds of years and probably will be for hundreds more, in part due to the fact that people can relate to the hero. Macbeth is a good example of a tragic hero because he progresses through all the
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