Essay on The Evil Hero in Hamlet and Macbeth

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The Evil Hero in Hamlet and Macbeth
Works Cited Not Included Although it is somewhat masked by Shakespeare, both Hamlet and Macbeth are portrayed as pernicious, vile villains whose atrocities echo the machinations of other conniving characters; they lose their heroism in their blatant lack of repentance and ignorance of morality.

Hamlet himself states that even though "one may smile," he can also "be a

villain" (Ham. 1.5.8), and he sacrifices human dignity in his insatiable bloodlust by wishing the praying Claudius a "more horrid hent" (Ham. 3.3.88). The alleged hero of the play
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Macbeth, though he wavers in the beginning, practices the same art of deception by espousing that the murderous night was "rough" (Mac. 2.3.58), later mirroring Hamlet's suicidal musings that "there's nothing serious in morality / All is but toys"

(Mac. 2.3.89-90).

Macbeth, formerly a revered warrior, as Hamlet was a noble prince,

falls prey to a thirst for power, whetted by Lady Macbeth. Macbeth further parallels the

fiendish love affair of Hamlet with grotesque death when he warns the murderers that he "require[s] a certain clearness…leave no rubs nor botches in the work" (Mac. 3.133-4). This perversion of morality marks the climax of Macbeth's descent into villainy, and there is no longer any question that his thirst for blood is greater and more vicious than any of Duncan's defensive wars. Although the role of Lady Macbeth cannot be denied in this ensnarement, the simple fact is that Macbeth sacrificed his personal sense of morality and values in the face of a single deviant voice, and for that he was a traitor to both himself and his people.

Shakespeare had little patience for such twisted characters, and they promptly met their demise at the hands of others - others who, although they are no doubt tainted with impurities and countless faults, cannot match the trickery and debauchery that took place on a personal level with the dastardly

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