The Tragedy Of Macbeth, William Shakespeare

2409 words - 10 pages

Shakespeare's tragedies frequently include major symbols that reveal the character's stage of internal transition from an esteemed hero to a despised villain. These plays beginning with the central character established at the top of hero cycle. It quickly becomes evident, however, that the character possesses a destructive flaw. As the plot progresses, this flaw magnifies and propels him further down the hero cycle. At last, his life is desiccated and he becomes the antithesis of the hero at the start of the play. Such a descent is clearly demonstrated in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The play commences by establishng Macbeth as the hero of Scotland. His valiant battles against the treacherous rebels gains him the respect and honour of his country. However, a prophecy awakens an 'o'er vaulting ambition' within Macbeth, a tragic flaw that provokes his descent down the hero cycle. Macbeth's ambition is manifested in the form of a 'dagger', which lures him to kill Duncan so that he can become King. As Macbeth continues to descend, his mind becomes plagued with guilt in the form of 'scorpions' that torture him to confess and atone. However, Macbeth knows that he can no longer undo his unspeakable deeds, and that his only options are to continue killing, or confess and be killed. Hence, he persists with his plan to murder Banquo and his son in order to secure his position as King. Macbeth's ambition continues to kill his dignity, until finally, he has sunk to mindlessly slaughtering women and children. By killing the child, who is the model of innocence, truth, and morality, Macbeth demonstrates that he has at last destroyed his dignity. Now, Macbeth has reached the bottom of the hero cycle and become the antithesis of who he initially was. To depict Macbeth's descent from an outstanding warrior to a ruthless fiend, Shakespeare manipulates the symbols of the battle, the dagger, the scorpions, and the killing of women and children.Shakespeare uses contrasting battle and dagger symbols portray Macbeth's descent from a celebrated warrior to a conniving murderer. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is established as the hero of Scotland after protecting the people of his country in two grueling battles. His fearless attacks overpowered the treacherous rebels and villains, and in the end, Scotland was victorious. However, Macbeth's later psychological battle has the opposite outcome. His ambition, manifested in the form of a dagger, overpowers his dignity. Thus, it initiated the deterioration of his morality. Macbeth's initial character is introduced through the report of a sergeant who had witnessed his valiant fighting.1 II l 15-23 But all's too weakFor the brave Macbeth[...] with his brandish'd steelWhich smok'd with bloody execution,[...] carv'd out his passageTill he fac'd the slave;[...] he unseam'd him from the nave to the chapsAnd fix'd his head upon our battlements.It is evident from the sergeant's speech that Macbeth possesses all the qualities that...

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