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Macbeth the Tragic Hero

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Miranda Lin

on 29 November 2012

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Transcript of Macbeth the Tragic Hero

the decisions and actions of a tragic hero result in an insight into his flaw, in which he recognizes that his demise is brought on by himself (anagnorisis) tragic hero - a protagonist of noble stature and outstanding qualities; he possesses a major flaw (harmartia) and unfavorable fortune that leads to an ultimate tragedy What makes Macbeth a noble character of high esteem? Why do writers choose to write stories of tragic heroes?

How do tragic heroes capture an audience? "For brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name- / Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel..." (I.ii.35-36)

"O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!" (I.ii.43) Anagnorisis (the recognition/discovery of the tragic hero's actions leading to his fate) Why care about tragic heroes? Macbeth as a Tragic Hero the tragic hero is meant to elicit pity, empathy, and compassion from the audience The Major Flaws of a Respectable Character Brave and honorable What are Macbeth's tragic flaws? Loyal and conscientious [Aside] "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, / Without my stir." (I.iv.257-258)

"The service and the loyalty I owe, / In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part / Is to receive our duties; and our duties / Are to your throne and state children and servants, / Which do but what they should, by doing every thing / Safe toward your love and honor." (I.iv.301-307)

"It is too full o' the milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;" (I.v.361-362)

"...I am his kinsman and his subject, / Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, / Who should against his murderer shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan / Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been / So clear in his great office, that his virtues / Will plead like angels... / The deep damnation of his taking-off;" (I.vii.486-493) Pride Lust Envy Gluttony Sloth Wrath Greed Pride "The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step / On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap," (I.iv.331-332)

"I dare do all that may become a man; / Who dares do more is none." (I.vii.524-525)

"I will not yield, / To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, / And to be baited with the rabble's cause." (V.viii.28-34) Greed Impressionability "I grant [Macbeth] bloody, / Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, / Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin / That has a name:" (IV.iii.191-194) "My noble partner / You greet with present grace and great prediction / Of noble having and of royal hope, / That he seems rapt withal." (I.iii.155-158)

"Stars, hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires:" (I.iv.333-334) "I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself / And falls on the other." (I.vii.499-502) - Despite Macbeth's initial moral objection to killing Duncan, he was easily persuaded by Lady Macbeth's words.

- When the witches delivered news of Macbeth's future fortune, they refrained from the topic of murder and dishonor. Influence of Lady Macbeth and the Three Witches "Art not without ambition, but without / The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly, / That wouldst thou holily' wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win... / That I may pour my spirits in thine ear; and chastise with the valour of my tongue... / To have thee crown'd withal." (I.v. 363-375) "...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." (III.ii.1191-1194)

"Now does he feel / His secret murders sticking on his hands; Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach; / Those he commands move only in command, / Nothing in love: now does he feel his title / Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe / Upon a dwarfish thief." (V.ii.2225-2231)

"As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, / I must not look to have; but, in their stead, / Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath, / Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not." (V.iii.2276-2279) What did Macbeth discover? - The importance of upright morals Friendship and Support Honor and Respect Peace and Stability Eliciting Pity, Empathy, Compassion Ambition Relation to Human Nature - people are not simply good/bad

- traits of the tragic hero can often be found in everyday people - audiences can all relate (The dream of a better life) - the tragic hero is a "good person", much like you and me

- there was potential for a happy ending... the tragedy may not have occurred if the circumstances were slightly different A Hero Figure - tragic heroes are realistic characters with common human desires and wants, but they are ambitious enough to put in grave effort in order to reach their goal

- tragic heroes usually bear a high status, to symbolize their prominent influence in the story hero - an idealized character of outstanding achievements Tragic heroes demonstrate that...

- not every pure intention leads to pure outcomes
- morals are essential for character
- it is important to know your flaws and weaknesses, so that you can prevent your own tragedies in life
- despite bad circumstances, there are always, to some degree, a fault attributed to the self From tragic heroes, we can reach our own understanding of success and failure, and apply it to our life.
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