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Is Macbeth A Hero Or A Villain

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Many, who have read William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, remember the title character, Macbeth, as an evil, blood-thirsty tyrant who, in cold-blood, murders the previous king and goes on a murdering rampage to keep his throne. He is despised as a villain, who deserves his fate of death as delivered by the more virtuous Macduff. However, as evil as he seems, he was once a good person with a conscience. He was at first against the murder of Duncan and was once afraid of “horrible deeds” that he would commit. Rather than labeling him a villain, he is, in truth, a classic case of a tragic hero.
Aristotle, in his work, Poetics, defines a tragic hero as a character who is of a noble and great stature, neither too evil nor good, who is ultimately ruined
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He is not the villain as some think he is but rather the victim of his tragic flaws. Macbeth had “hamartia”, being his overriding ambition and insecurity, “peripeteia” with him having an image of a ruthless tyrant, “anagnorisis” with him realizing his reputation is tarnished and despised, and finally “catharsis”, having the epiphany that he was flawed when lost everything that he owned due to his ambition. As Aristotle has said, the audience must have a feeling of pity for the character for that character to be truly a tragic hero, and Macbeth deserves all the pity he could get. The readers must know that he was never an evil person in the beginning of the play, but only becomes so due to his flaws. Once an admired and likable character, Macbeth is ruined due to his unfortunate fate of encountering the witches, hearing their prophecy, getting persuaded by Lady Macbeth, and letting ambition take over him. Imagine where he would be had he not encountered the witches or fought against his ambition. He could have lived a better, contented life, more so than any life of a king could offer. It is just tragic that Macbeth wanted to be king, a “burrowed robe” that really never fit
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