Is Macbeth An Evil Villain Or Simply A Tragic Hero?

1620 words - 7 pages

Is Macbeth an evil villain or simply a tragic hero?
What makes a character a true tragic hero? All tragic heroes have the same qualities; an honorable person who is doomed for a tragic downfall; the situation usually makes them suffer and feel guilty. Would Macbeth be considered an evil villain or noble man? Throughout the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, it is clear to see that Macbeth is a man who was influenced by the wrong people, and completely driven to have success. Could the drive to success make a person so morally wrong? How could the favorable Macbeth take such an awful turn for defeat? Macbeth is the perfect example of a true tragic hero; possessing great nobility that ...view middle of the document...

The prophecy of the witches was what really triggered Macbeth’s fascination with being king.
Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis. But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman, and to be king Stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor” (Shakespeare 1.3.68-73).
Macbeth seemed to be very confused on why the weird sisters told him that he would be crowned Thane of Cawdor, when he was already Thane of Glamis. If the witches did not tell him about the prophecy, he would not have started getting anxious and getting crazy thoughts about being more successful than he already was. Macbeth knew that the witches were correct twice before about their predictions, so it was almost impossible not to trust what they were saying (Thrasher 84-85). He fell into the exact trap that the witches wanted him to be in. Lady Macbeth can be considered the poison to Macbeth’s brain. She literally led him in all the wrong directions, and was another leading cause of why Macbeth became a murder. Because he loved his wife so much and was vulnerable, he would have never thought she would steer him in such wrong and cruel path. “Your face, my thane, is as a book where men May read strange matters. “To beguile the time, / Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye, / Your hand, your tongue. Look like th' innocent flower, / But be the serpent under ’t” (Shakespeare 1.5.61-64). Lady Macbeth tested Macbeth’s manhood, and talked him into killing the King Duncan. She told him to be sneaky, and to make sure no one would find out about his evil plans to become Thane of Cawdor. She used manipulation to help him strive towards the ambition he needed to become king, even though it was not a positive ambition (Campbell 208). Instead of the witches and Lady Macbeth trying to help out the praised Macbeth, they dangled temptations right in front of him and he was no longer able to resist. They brought his innocent conscious downward, and it ended up hurting himself in the worst way it could.
Another key element of being a tragic hero is the suffering and guilt, which comes along with all the immoral actions. Macbeth shows he feels guilty after almost every crime he commits.
In the affliction of these terrible dreams That shake us nightly. 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. Duncan is in his grave. After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well (Shakespeare 3.2.18-23).
Macbeth explains he rather be dead, than have to live with all the horrible things that take place in the world. Even though he just contributed to the bad things that take place in the world, he wished he could take it all back; this just shows how confused Macbeth truly was. He is trying to make himself happy by becoming more successful, but instead just he was bringing himself down. It was almost...

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