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Macbeth: A Tragic Hero

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Vito Zou

on 27 February 2013

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Transcript of Macbeth: A Tragic Hero

By: Vito Zou | Block F Macbeth: A Tragic Hero Act V Scene I
"Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. / I have thee not, and yet I see thee still." (Pg. 20). Right before the murder of Duncan, Macbeth sees a floating dagger in front of him. He knows it's a hallucination, and this provides a foreshadowing of future events. Act II Scene I
"Our fears in Banquo / Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature /... / For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind; / For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered; / Put rancors in the vessel of my peace / Only for them; and mine eternal jewel / Given to the common enemy of man, / To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! / Rather than so, come fate into the list, / And champion me to th' utterance." (Pg. 34-35). In this long soliloquy Macbeth ponders about Banquo, reflecting that his old friend is the only man in Scotland whom he fears. The murder of Duncan may have simply cleared the way for Banquo’s sons to overthrow Macbeth’s own family. Macbeth's paranoia continues to grow and the mood of the scene begins to darken. This leads to him hiring two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. Act III Scene I
"Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. / Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough. /... / Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn / The power of man, for none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth. /... / Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care / Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. / Macbeth shall never vanquished be until / Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill / Shall come against him." (Pg. 53-54). Macbeth visits the three witches again and demands to know more about his future. The witches - having just been scolded by Hecate - try to mislead him by telling half-truths and paradoxes through three apparitions. Macbeth misinterprets these apparitions as telling him that he is immortal and quickly develops another fatal flaw: hubris. His hamartia of being easily manipulated is also proved once again by the witches manipulating him. By now, Macbeth's demise has already progressed for quite some time and is leading up to a dramatic conclusion. Act IV Scene V
"As I did stand my watch upon the hill, / I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought / The wood began to move." (Pg. 77). Here, a messager tells Macbeth that he saw the Birnam Wood forest moving towards the castle. This "forest" is actually Malcolm's army disguised behind branches and leaves. Macbeth is unaware of this and does not believe the messenger at first, which is extremely ironic due to the witches' prophecy. Eventually, he realizes that the messenger is telling the truth, and this becomes his first anagnorsis. Macbeth continues his preparations to defend his castle, and soon will find out that he is no longer a virtuous warrior, but a villainous tyrant. Act I Scene III
"And for an earnest of a greater honour / He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor: / In which addition, hail most worthy thane, / For it is thine" (Pg. 7). Soon after meeting the witches, where he was told the classic antithesis and paradox "fair is foul and foul is fair" (Pg. 1), Macbeth is pronounced Thane of Cawdor by Duncan. He receives this title after he fought courageously against his enemies in the war while defending Scotland. Macbeth is praised by the King and his fellow friends and family back in Scotland. Everyone considers him to be a virtuous being and great war hero. ` Scene IV
"[Aside] The prince of Cumberland! That is a step / On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, / For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires. / The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be / Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see." (Pg. 11). Macbeth, seeing that Malcolm is the next in line to be King, beings plotting and having villainous thoughts. He knows he has to get rid of Malcolm, his nemesis, in order to become king. This exposes his ambition, which is a flaw that develops over time and eventually takes over his life. Scene VII
"He’s here in double trust: / First, as 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." (Pg. 15-16). In this scene Macbeth begins to doubt himself. He express guilt and worry about plotting to kill the King and tries to convince himself that murder is not the right thing. This shows his emotional instability, another one of Macbeth's tragic flaws. Macbeth's doubts are short lived as Lady Macbeth soon enters and uses pathos to question his masculinity. She convinces him to stick with the plan of murdering Duncan and her rude demeanor works. Lady Macbeth's success points out Macbeth's harmatia: he is too easily manipulated. Scene II
"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." (Pg. 23). Having just killed Duncan, Macbeth is still in shock. He feels tremendous guilt about his villainous actions and is very emotional. Again, it takes Lady Macbeth's temper to set him straight. Macbeth's character now begins the very early stages of its downfall. He is weakened emotionally and many things including the blood on his hands point to a worsening future for him. Scene IV
"Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with man’s act, / Threatens his bloody stage. By th' clock ’tis day, / And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp. / Is ’t night’s predominance or the day’s shame / That darkness does the face of Earth entomb / When living light should kiss it?" (Pg. 29). This quote, from a conversation between Ross and an old man, describes the weird weather going on. While Macbeth is not directly mentioned, this example of pathetic fallacy relates to his future intentions and tells readers that something is very wrong. The scene creates a dark and sombre mood that is evident for the rest of the play. Scene IV
"Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you? / Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too. / If charnel houses and our graves must send / Those that we bury back, our monuments / Shall be the maws of kites." (Pg. 43). This scene very evidently portrays the start of Macbeth's downfall. The hallucinations that he experienced earlier re-appear, but this time it's much more serious. Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo and, despite Lady Macbeth's best efforts to try to calm him, makes a big scene in front of the other lords. His character has been altered so much by the murders that he cannot be controlled anymore. The other lords now begin to suspect that he is behind all the murders and that continues to contribute to his downfall. Scene III
"Oh, I could play the woman with mine eyes / And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens, / Cut short all intermission. Front to front / Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself. / Within my sword’s length set him; if he ’scape, / Heaven forgive him too. /... / This tune goes manly. / Come, go we to the king. Our power is ready; / Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth / Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above / Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may. / The night is long that never finds the day." (Pg. 67). Macduff, upon finding out that Macbeth slaughtered his wife and kids, becomes furious with rage. Malcolm takes this oppourtunity to convince Macduff to join his army to take over Macbeth's kingdom. Macduff agrees, vowing to kill Macbeth himself and the stage is finally set for a bloody and eventful conclusion to Macbeth's downfall. Scene VIII
"Thou losest labor. / As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air / With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed. / Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests; / I bear a charmèd life, which must not yield / To one of woman born. /... / Despair thy charm, / And let the angel whom thou still hast served / Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb / Untimely ripped." (Pg. 80). In the final scene of the play, Macbeth faces off with Macduff in an epic battle. Macbeth is confident because the witches told him that no man born of woman can kill him. However, Macduff reveals that he was born through C-section, and therefore the prophecy had no meaning. Macbeth has a second anagnorsis and knows he is doomed. This is the conclusion of the demise of Macbeth, and Macduff eventually cuts Macbeth's head off, leading to a catharsis for the readers. THE
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