Macbeth is a book filled with betrayal, prophecies, revenge and many other themes. After reading this book I feel that Macbeth is indeed tragic because of his one fatal flaw, or harmatia. As one could see, throughout this book, Macbeth seeks guidance from the wrong people like the witches, his wife, whose ambition is as great, if not greater than his.
However, one must pause and consider whether Macbeth is really the cold blooded murderer and traitor everyone thought him to be. Firstly, the three witches, similar to the three Fates in the Greek legends, influenced him greatly with their prophecies. But without these prophecies of fame and power, would Macbeth actually have killed King Duncan? For instance, if Macbeth had not known that he would become king, would he have been bothered by the fact that Malcolm had been appointed the Prince of Cumberland? Would he, then, have killed Duncan to seize the throne? Macbeth most certainly has deep, dark ambitions inside of him, like kindling, but without the lit match of the three witches' prophecy, would his ambitions have been lit?
And secondly, irony is an ever prevailing theme in this book, from the beginning till the end. All of the witches' prophecies came true, but not in a way most readers would expect. That is why in any story, oracles (the witches in this case) speak in riddles, because they only gave away part of the whole picture but never the entire thing. What is ironic is that while the prophecies all seem in Macbeth's favour, he ends up getting killed because he placed all his faith in the prophecies and never even bothered with a back-up plan, and even though he is killed by Banquo at the end of the book, none of the prophesies proved false.
Another thing I realized in the book was the dilemma of whether Macbeth actually killed Duncan. Shakespeare neglected to mention a single scene where Macbeth is seen killing Duncan. The only scenes are before he kills Duncan (Act 2 Scene 1) and after he kills the King (Act 2 Scene 2). What happened in between those two scenes is an enigma which probably can never be accurately answered since Shakespeare has already left this world.
Moreover, even had Macbeth actually done it, the case would never stand to reason in our modern courts of law. Firstly, the three witches have told him prophecies which, as I mentioned previously, probably influenced him to kill Duncan. That would mean only a second-degree murder. Secondly, Duncan was staying in Macbeth's castle. The prescence of a king would probably guarantee a huge banquet held in his honour. Therefore, there is a high chance that Macbeth was intoxicated while doing the deed. That would mean only a manslaughter charge. Thirdly, as one could see from the book, Macbeth can become very bloodthirsty, and prone to anger. In a fit of anger, he had killed Macduff's entire family, including Macduff's young child. Nowadays, he could probably cope an insanity plea which would probably be sustained.
"Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more." (act 5 scene 5) This quote is perhaps one of the most recognizable quotes in the entire book. This could also be a theme to the book, Macbeth is telling us how short life can be, and how important it is to make full use of it. Perhaps that is the reason why he wanted to become king, to live life to the fullest.
This turned out a little longer than I expected, hopefully someone can trim it a little, and maybe provide some helpful tips. I think the conclusion is a little cheesy, might need help with that, but I really wanted to use that quote.
Macbeth is a book filled with betrayal, prophecies, and revenge. .
(above) some phrases are like weak soldiers that put the whole platoon at risk.
Here is another one, sucking the life from your writing:
Throughout this book, Macbeth seeks...
Now add one more sentence to the end of that intro paragraph -- a sentence that ill "sharpen" your thesis statement and make it very specific and clear.
run on sentence:
This could also be a theme to the book: Macbeth is telling us how short life can be, and how important it is to make full use of it.----- but if you are writing about this theme, too, you should get it involved with the main them of the essay? Can you, in a single sentence, express the main theme of the essay?
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December 16, 1996
Advanced English 11
Tragic hero essay
One might choose to assent to the statement, "Macbeth is a tragic hero." This conclusion may be based upon certain characteristics , proposed by Aristotle, that warrants him worthy of such a title. Aristotle stated that a tragic hero must be of certain qualities: a man of noble stature, good, though not perfect, have a fall that results from committing an act of injustice, which is his own fault, and receive a punishment that exceeds the crime.
A tragic hero is one of noble stature, and is good. Macbeth is known as the Thane of Cawdor. He receives this honor because he has just returned from a military success that has covered him in glory. Macbeth can be considered "good" at the start of the work. He is good, although he is not perfect. He has a good heart and is in a keen state of mind before he hears the witches' prophecy. Macbeth does not begin to become evil until he is convinced to act on the prophecy by Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is the evil one who poisons Macbeth's mind; although, she is only encouraging her husband to do what she feels is in his best interest.
The hero's downfall is his own fault, the result of his own free choice, not the result of an accident or fate. An accident and/or fate may be a contributing factor in the hero's downfall, but are not alone responsible. Macbeth's downfall is entirely his fault. He chose to listen to the witches' prophecy. Banquo heard the same prophecy, but chose not to allow himself to be duped. Macbeth could have done the same thing. He, instead, chose to accept the prophecy and act upon it. Macbeth spends most of the play in moral indecision. Lady Macbeth encourages him, but it is he that chooses his actions.
A tragic hero's misfortune is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime. Macbeth does not totally deserve to die as a result of these incidents. He begins the work as a good man, but later declines because of the desires of his wife, and bad choices. Macbeth does not want to kill anyone, but does it. He is a person of greatness, but is also of weakness. In the beginning he is "better than ourselves." Macbeth's death may not be considered a total loss because knowledge is gained before he dies. Aristotle says that there is some "discovery", a change from ignorance to knowledge.
In conclusion, Macbeth can be described as "tragic hero" because he possesses the characteristics that are required by Aristotle. Macbeth is of nobility, is good, though not perfect, experiences a downfall that is his own fault, has a misfortune that is now wholly deserved, and receives a punishment that exceeds the crime.
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