Essay about The Degeneration of a Hero: Macbeth

1168 Words Jan 1st, 2011 5 Pages
The degeneration of a hero: Macbeth Aristotle once said, "The tragic hero must be neither villain nor a virtuous man, but a character between these two extremes.”[1] Such a person would be Macbeth, who begins as a highly respected thane by the King. However, due to the mystical prediction of the Three Witches and Macbeth’s unquenchable thirst for power, he determines to remove all obstacles standing in his way of becoming king. Shakespeare expresses his belief that anyone, from valiant hero to ruthless villain, can result in a fatal and tragic ending - or can they not? In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the titular character is predominantly good, his greatness and bravery in battle for his country propels him to the title of a great …show more content…
Upon the hearing of the witches’ prophecy, Macbeth’s inner man is stirred as he charges the “imperfect speakers [to stay and to], tell [him] more” (7), initiating his degeneration as a hero. This stating of partially true ideas to Macbeth by the witches lead him away from the path of loyal gentlemen into that of a cold-blooded killer. The actions of the witches reveal his yearning for power no matter the consequences, which in turn are one of his shortcomings. This malign prophecy becomes the only thing he can rely on; the only thing that would not fall through. His vaulting ambition is heightened as he starts to depart from his dear friend Banquo physically and mentally. “[Aside] Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor: The greatest is behind” (9). The use of the witches as a remedy for Macbeth’s curiosity originates his corruption of himself. Consequently, Macbeth’s troubled personality is extenuated further in the form of reckless ambition, ill-found bravery, and self-doubt causing him to lose sense of right and wrong. Macbeth’s deterioration in personality is ultimately the reason he loses control over everything he gained, including his life. Following his encounter with the witches, Macbeth begins to saturate his mind with thoughts of being king and his desire of pocessing power erupts.

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