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‘Macbeth Is Capable of Brutal and Bloody Acts, but He Deserves Our Sympathy Nevertheless.’ Do You Agree?

  • Date Submitted: 09/02/2010 03:18 AM
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‘Macbeth is capable of brutal and bloody acts, but he deserves our sympathy nevertheless.’

Do you agree?

In Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’, the protagonist of the same name is portrayed as a character capable of brutal and bloody acts. While it is the tyrannical Macbeth who is ultimately responsible for the suffering of Scotland and the deaths of many, a combination of factors all act upon him to influence his decisions. Excessive self-ambition, manipulation by the witches and Lady Macbeth’s
pivotal influence all contribute in some way to Macbeth committing these acts of atrocity and later, his fall from grace. Thus, Macbeth does deserve some of our sympathy in spite of his mistakes.

A typical Shakespearean tragedy, Macbeth is a man of good character who rises to the pinnacle of power, but ultimately falls to ruin due to his tragic flaw. In this case, Macbeth’s fatal flaw can be interpreted as his ambition, which is evident when Macbeth admits that “Art not without ambition”.
From the onset of the play, it is clear that Macbeth is very keen on gaining power. He displays his ambition when, after being told the prophecy by the witches, he comments “Let not light see my black and deep desires.” Later on, Macbeth even writes in a letter to his wife about “What greatness is promised to thee.” This thirst for greatness and for power sadly overpowers Macbeth’s noble and essentially loyal nature, which do help to redeem him in the eyes of the audience. Prior to the murder, he questions whether to commit the crime; “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject.. then as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself.” This particular scene demonstrates that whilst Macbeth’s personality is very ambitious, particular moments show glimpses of a moral and gracious man, which serves to...


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