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Macbeth - Tragic Hero

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Macbeth - Tragic Hero

In the play Macbeth written by William Shakespeare, Macbeth is the seen as a tragic hero. Macbeth's character changes from a noble and respected individual at the beginning of the play to a despised and deceitful murderer. A number of factors led to this great change, some within Macbeth's control and some not. The witch's prophecies lead Macbeth into a false sense of security and make Macbeth more ambitious to gain positions of high authority at any cost. His wife, Lady Macbeth, is also a great influence on Macbeth and the development of his evil nature.

He is shown as a brave and valiant soldier of high rank at the beginning of the play. "For brave Macbeth well he deserves that name, distaining fortune with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valour's minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave." He is also shown to be loyal to his king and ruthless in battle, as he defeats the rebelling Highlanders and Islanders led by Macdonwald. He is also seen as an admired patriot with a strong sense of duty. "The service and loyalty I owe, in doing pays itself," he nobly says after returning victorious from battle.

The witches prophecies state Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor and Glamis and most importantly of all King of Scotland. Macbeth buys into these prophecies unlike Banquo. He then believes these titles are destined to be his which fuels his ambition to do anything even if it means killing to get there. The second prophecies lead Macbeth into a false sense of security as they say he can never be harmed by man as "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth." They also say he has nothing to fear until "Great Birnam wood" moves to "high Dunsinane hill" near his castle. Macbeth begins to rely on the prophecies as a "safety net" and a reason for his murderous actions. However, the prophecies like many things in the play are deliberately deceiving as he is murdered by Macduff who was born by caesarian birth.

Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth, has a great influence on the change in Macbeth's character. She has a strong desire for Macbeth to be king but believes he is too "full o' th' milk of human kindness" to become king. Lady Macbeth forms the plan to murder Duncan and ensures it is carried out. When



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