Year 11A Callan Brombacher Mini Essay: Macbeth is a “tragic hero” or the “dead butcher”? Mrs. Dolman According to Aristotle’s view, a tragic hero is a lead character in literature that evokes a sense of pity from the audience. The character is virtuous and renowned but not entirely good. The hero has a fatal flaw that brings him his success and death. Through the course of the story, the hero commits a great wrong creating a shift from good fortune to bad. This is usually where the sense of pity (that the audience feels for the hero) stems from.
At the end of the story the hero looses everything including his life. Macbeth is portrayed as a virtuous character in the opening scenes of “Macbeth”, by the use of diction and style. Shakespeare uses a laudatory style focused on Macbeth in the opening scenes displaying him as a renowned soldier. He uses the words “noble, brave, worthy” etcetera, to list some of Macbeth’s virtues. He uplifts Macbeth, by comments from the king such as: “O, valiant cousin! Worthy gentlemen! ”
Like all tragic heroes, Macbeth had a fatal flaw. His ambition was one of the reason’s he committed his great wrong. Lady Macbeth knew of his ambition and influenced him to kill Duncan. “Thou wouldst be great, Art not without ambition…” Macbeth, not entirely good himself, is prone to evil. Shakespeare demonstrates this by linking Macbeth to the witches through the use of the words “fair” and “foul”. “Fair is foul and foul is fair. ” This phrase was mentioned by the witches. So foul and fair a day…. ” This phrase was mentioned by Macbeth. Macbeth also expresses no fear for evil, as he shouts commands at the witches. “Speak, I charge you! ” Macbeth’s fortune begins to change for the worse as the play continues. His Subjects become suspicious of him, and he begins to regret killing Duncan, as it leads to a lack of sleep and insanity. “Better be with the dead, whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy. ”
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The audience feels a sense of pity for Macbeth due to the fact that he did not want to kill Duncan but his ambition and wife’s influence forced his hand. After Duncan’s death Macbeth feels guilt and remorse, wishing he had not committed the crime. In the final scenes of the play, Macbeth loses his wife and sanity, is over thrown and killed by Macduff. Macbeth displays all the characteristics of a tragic hero described by Aristotle, leading me to believe Macbeth is a tragic hero and not a dead butcher.
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