Macbeth Argumentative Essay Sample
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Macbeth Argumentative Essay Sample
In American society, the topic “hero” is often used in entertainments such as comic books and movies. Not all heroes are a good man kind that deserves a happy ending. In The Tragedy of Macbeth written by William Shakespeare, Macbeth is portrayed as a tragic hero, who was initially a basically good man but falls to destruction due to his tragic flaws. First of all, Macbeth qualifies to be a tragic hero because he is basically a good man who demonstrates physical prowess and bravery throughout the play.
With his courage and war strategies, Macbeth was able to gain victory in the war against Norway and win himself an honor of double Thane. However, many people argue that Macbeth does not qualify to be a tragic hero because he lacks virtue as part of his innate character. For example, Macbeth agrees to frame Duncan’s two innocent guards by making “Duncan’s two chamberlains drunk with wine and wassail” (1. 7. 71-72), and to blame them afterwards for killing Duncan “When Duncan is asleep” (1. 7. 69).
Moreover, his thoughts of murdering Duncan “If th’ assassination/Could trammel up the consequence, and catch, With his surcease, success” proves him to be a greedy and virtueless person. However, although Macbeth had evil thoughts of harming others, it does not change the fact that he is still basically a good man with both moral and conscience. After murdering Duncan, In order to be a tragic hero, a person has to be neither thoroughly good nor evil. Even though Macbeth is basically a good man, his flaws cause him to commit some crimes that will ruin his peaceful life and will lead him into his tragic downfall.
However, others sometimes will say that Macbeth is only a victim of fate, and it wasn’t his free will that led him to his own death. Before Macbeth became the king, the witches had already told him “Thou shalt get kings” (1. 3. 67). So Macbeth had no choice to choose whether he will become the king or not. Also, before Macbeth gets slaughtered by Macduff, Macbeth does not know “Macduff was from his mother’s womb/Ultimately ripped” (5. 8. 23-27); therefore, there is no way Macbeth can escape his death.
Although the prophecies were made before things actually happened, Macbeth cannot be classified as a victim of fate because he was able to make many decisions on his own. For example, it was Macbeth himself who decided to go “to the weird sisters” (3. 4. 165) for more prophecies, and he was the one who ordered Lennox to “Seize upon Fife, give to the edge o’ the sword/ His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls/That trace him and his line” (4. 1. 17) after hearing the prophecies that he should “Beware Macduff” (4. 1. 80).
Though his destruction was already laid under the second prophecies, it was Macbeth’s decision of killing Macduff’s family that actually ignited Macduff’s revenge. Secondly, Macbeth had some tragic flaws including a sense of hubris and unbridled ambition, which caused him error in judgments and eventually led him to his own destruction. Initially, Macbeth does not want to kill Duncan, it was not after Lady Macbeth attacked his manly pride by saying “Wouldst thou have that/ Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And lives a coward in thine own esteem/Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would'” (1. . 41-44) that Macbeth finally made up his mind to kill Duncan.
With the previous examples, it is reasonable to conclude that Macbeth is simply a good man with failures (or death) caused by both his freewill and tragic flaws. Moreover, a tragic hero is not only a good man with tragic flaws, he must also undergo a tragic recognition. However, the opposing side would argue that Macbeth did not have a tragic recognition, because he did not regain his heroic stature and continues falling victim of his sense of hubris.
First of all, he kills young Siward and proclaims “Thou wast born of woman/ But swords I smiled at, weapons laugh to scorn, Brandished by man that’s of woman born” (5. 8. 11-13), which shows that he is still prideful. Also, Macbeth accepts to fight immediately after Macduff insulted his pride by saying “Then yield thee, coward. And live to be the show and gaze o’th’ time/ We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are/Painted upon a pole, and underwrit/ ‘Here may you see he tyrant'” (5. 8. 23-27).
Even though Macbeth might still be prideful after his tragic recognition, he did move from ignorance to knowledge and begins to evaluate himself justly. In his tragic recognition, Macbeth admits that he is “sick at heart and his way of life/Is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf” (5. 3. 19-28). Also, he also realizes that the witches were tricking him since the beginning of the play. Moreover, he realizes that he “must not look to have the honor, love, obedience, troops and friends” (5. 3. 27-28) that he had when he was still the brave Thane of Cawdor.
Lastly, Macbeth has regain his bravery and this was shown when he accepted to fight with Macduff even though he knew “Birnam Wood had already came to Dunsinane/ And Macduff opposed being of no woman born” (1. 8. 30-31). Although most people might say Macbeth’s death was caused by his temporarily pride, but the fact is, it was Macbeth’s honor and courage as a solider that convinced him to fight Macduff to death. Thus, Macbeth had not only increased his awareness through this great tragic recognition, he had also regained his honor as a fighter.
Furthermore, a tragic hero must win the pity or fear of the audiences. As for the opposing side, they might argue that most people feel happy when Malcolm was made “King of Scotland” (5. 8. 70), and when Macduff “Behold where stands/ The usurper’s cursed head” (5. 8. 64-65) on top of the castle. However, the death of Macbeth for sure will arouse fear and pity in audiences’ heart because Macbeth is initially a brave solider and potentially a good thane who “Disdains Fortune, with his brandished steel,/Which smoked with bloody execution/ carved out his passage/Till he faced the salve” (1. . 18-22) in wars, and who does not deserve such a horrible ending.
Also, Macbeth would end up in such a shameful death because he falls victim into “fair is foul, and foul is fair” (1. 1. 12), which can still be applied to anyone of us nowadays. Even though Macbeth’s imperfectness in personality leads him to his own hero’s destruction, but his basic goodness and mass potentials had made him a tragic hero.