Macbeth – Literacy Essay Macbeth was a tragic hero in many ways

Macbeth – Literacy Essay
Macbeth was a tragic hero in many ways, but he was also a villain. He started off a hero, with many noble characteristics such as bravery and loyalty. But, with time, his noble characteristics began to fade, and were replaced with paranoia, fear, and a cruel heart.
At the very beginning of the play, we hear stories about Macbeth on the battlefield. The Sergeant describes Macbeth as “brave Macbeth, (well he deserves that name) Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, which smok’d with bloody execution…” Act I, scene 2, line 16-18. Like all tragic heroes, Macbeth has a fatal flaw, his ambition for power. When the Witches told him the prophecy that he would be King of Scotland, he didn’t want to believe them. But, once he became thane of Cawdor, he began to take them seriously. He didn’t want to act on what the prophecy said. “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, Without my stir.” Act I, scene 3, line 147-148. Macbeth didn’t want to kill Duncan, but eventually his lust for power overcame his judgement. In Act I, scene 3, Macbeth turns to the audience and talks about how torn he is. Macbeth is saying how, at even the slightest thought of murdering Duncan, he feels extremely guilty and frightened.
“If good, why do I yield to that suggestion,
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hairs,
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings:
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man that function
Is smothered in surmise, and nothing is,
But what is not.”
(Macbeth, Act I, scene 3 134-142)
When he lets his wife, Lady Macbeth, convince him to kill Duncan, his honourable nature begins to fade. After the deed was done, and his hands were stained with his blood, he begins to be paranoid. Even though the blood came off his hands, he couldn’t escape the sin, no matter how hard he tried.
“How is ‘t with me when every noise appals me? What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes! Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red.” Act II, scene 2, line 58-63.
ddddWorks Cited
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Published in 1623