William Shakespeare 's Macbeth - An Anti Hero

1403 Words6 Pages
As works of literature mature, the line between good and bad begins to become unclear. With Shakespeare’s works especially, things are usually not what they initially seem; a character may reveal to be the protagonist, antagonist, or even an anti-hero. A character may take actions that border on the antagonistic side, but still be the protagonist in which the audience is emotionally, though not always ethically, invested in. An anti-hero can be viewed simply as a protagonist who lies somewhere on the spectrum of villain and hero; never quite touching each end. In his play, Macbeth, Shakespeare makes it clear that Macbeth is really an anti-hero through his changing public appearance, his encounters with the witches, and his feelings concerning his own actions. Just as the character spectrum flows from hero to villain, Macbeth also gradually makes his way down the line. In the very beginning of the play (before making his appearance), Macbeth’s fellow Scots and lords praise him for his loyalty and noble deeds. Here, it is made clear that the public initially views him as a heroic figure who is loyal to Scotland; “for brave Macbeth, (well he deserves that name)”(9) Admittedly, Macbeth does unseam a man “from the nave to th’ chops”(9), however this is considered an act of valor in the service of his country and his king. However, Macbeth’s loyalties soon become questionable, as he plots to and then commits the murder of his honored king, Duncan. At this point, the audience
Open Document