Tragic Characters In Romeo And Juliet And Macbeth By William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare is known for writing some of the most profound tragedies of all time, including Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, two of the most famous plays. When an audience is watching these dramas, they see how horrific events can happen to people who seem completely moral, which begs the following question: what leads to these tragedies? One can easily blame the individual imperfections of the characters, but every tragedy in Shakespeare’s canon shares a greater overarching warning. Shakespeare’s tragic dramas Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth show the audience that tragedy does not always emerge from disobedience or manipulation, but rather authority and power.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet famously ends with both of the titular characters
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He opens the play by calling them “a pair of star-crossed lovers” (Prologue.6), showing that their relationship was naturally meant to occur from the beginning. The only thing keeping them apart is the tension between the Montagues and the Capulets, and we see this tension have negative consequences very early on the play. When Mercutio is fatally injured in a duel, he repeats “A plague a both your houses!” (3.1.92) multiple times, signifying that the two houses’ lust for dominance over the other had gotten out of hand and led to his very own death. Capulet himself exudes an irrationally extreme amount of anger to Juliet, yelling “Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!” (3.5.161) when he finds out about her interactions with Romeo. Shakespeare ends the play with the Prince of Verona clearly declaring Montague and Capulet at fault for the lovers’ deaths, as he exclaims “See what a scourge is laid upon your hate” (5.3.292). Because of this, Romeo and Juliet is clearly tragic because people hungered for authority, and “virtually everyone in this play...end up contributing to Romeo and Juliet’s destruction” (Herman …show more content…
Macbeth does not start the play in a murderous state of mind, but as soon as the witches inform him that he is destined to become king, he slowly starts doing whatever it takes to secure that position of authority (McGuinness 71). At first, one can easily blame the witches, as they were clearly trying to test Macbeth’s reaction when they declare “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!” (1.3.50). Lady Macbeth also manipulated him significantly throughout the play. When Macbeth starts to have second thoughts about killing King Duncan, Lady Macbeth quickly attempts to persuade him by asking “art thou afeard // To be the same in thine own act and valor // As thou art in desire?” (1.7.39-41). However, these examples of manipulation would not be so effective if Macbeth did not already have a dangerous thirst for power. When he sees that the coming kings are Banquo’s descendants, he declares it a “Horrible sight!” (4.1.122), and immediately plans to murder massive amounts of people in an attempt to secure his place on the

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