Compare and Contrast Between Shakesperean Tragic Heroes Essay

1401 Words Dec 23rd, 2008 6 Pages
Compare and Contrast Essay
Shakespeare Tragic Heroes: Macbeth and Brutus

Kyla Yu
English 11
August 4th, 2008

William Shakespeare is a world renowned English poet and playwright famous for many tragic plays such as Macbeth and Julius Caesar. These two plays both contain tragic heroes with Marcus Brutus from Julius Caesar, and Macbeth from Macbeth. A tragic hero is defined as a protagonist of high standing with heroic or potential heroic abilities who must oppose some external or internal force. A tragic hero needs to have a “tragic flaw” where a character has too much or too little of one of Aristotle’s twelve virtues. Macbeth and Brutus are both considered tragic heroes but have many similarities as well as differences.
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Macbeth was too trusting of the witches and his wife despite how terrible or evil their ideas were. He was also too willing to trust his destiny in the hands of others and if he hadn’t been so gullible, perhaps he wouldn’t have turned into such an evil man. Brutus was too trusting of the conspirators when they told him of how his best friend, Caesar, was going to rule Rome with tyranny when he is crowned emperor. The tragic heroes’ trustful natures lead to their lust for power and ambition. Once Brutus joined the conspirators, he immediately took over and would not settle for second-in-command. Macbeth’s ambition also helped lead to the moral decline of his character along with his lust for power.

Thirdly, Macbeth and Brutus both had guilty consciences about the murders they caused; therefore, both men had their worries portrayed in the form of ghosts. At the beginning of Macbeth, Macbeth had a very guilty conscience about killing Duncan and started to get apparitions of Banquo when he murdered him as well. The ghost of Banquo could’ve been a sign that Macbeth unconsciously regretted killing his best friend even though Macbeth had already become a cruel man at that point of the play. However, towards the end of the play, when facing Macduff, Macbeth seemed to regret his actions and was unwilling to kill when he said, “But get back, my soul is too much charg’d with blood

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