Macbeth- a Tragic Hero???

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The question of whether Macbeth is a villain or a tragic hero is a difficult question, and one which depends on how one understands the character. One popular argument about the play is that it charts Macbeth's fall from heroism into villainy. At the opening of the play, Macbeth demonstrates a fair amount of heroism. He has fought bravely and been loyal to his king. He embodies nobility and seems to possess virtue. He also possesses certain characteristics that we might associate with a tragic hero, in particular a fatal flaw. In the case of Macbeth, that fatal flaw is his ambition for power. Macbeth, however, quickly becomes something of a villainous character. He commits murder and puts his entire kingdom in danger. Still, many of his evil acts are committed while he is under the influence of the Weird Sisters and Lady Macbeth, who are often considered to be the true villains of the play. At the end of the play, Macbeth realizes the evil he has committed and seems to feel sorrow for such. Because of this realization Macbeth is often viewed as a tragic hero, for tragic heroes almost always recognize the errors they have committed by the end of their stories and seek, in some manner, to atone for them. Macbeth is indeed a bit too complex to be categorised as a villain or a hero. The supernatural sisterhood of the three witches strike the key-note of the play at the very outset--'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'. This paradoxical formula summarises the Macbeth-world and also the character of the protagonist: Macbeth is both fair and foul, both villainous and heroic. Macbeth earns enviable admiration in winning the battle against the rebel Macdonwald & the invading Norwegian king. He is acclaimed as 'valour's minion' & 'Bellona's bridegroom'. King Duncan rewards his 'peerless kinsman' by conferring upon him the title of the Thane Cawdor. In

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