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How is Macbeth a man of great potential and noble stature?and why ?

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bendygirl121 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 21, 2010 at 4:38 AM via web

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How is Macbeth a man of great potential and noble stature?

and why ?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 21, 2010 at 5:14 AM (Answer #1)

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The character of Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth is a man of great potential and noble stature.  He pretty much has to be to fulfill the role of tragic figure in Elizabethan theatre. 

The idea is that in order to do the level of great harm expected in a revenge tragedy, a character must be in a position of great power.  A commoner, for instance, does not have the kind of power, influence, and authority to do great harm to an entire kingdom.  A tragic figure must have this kind of power, influence, and authority.

Macbeth does.  He appears at the beginning of the play to be second-in-command of the military, second only to King Duncan.  And, in fact, Duncan does not appear in any way to direct the battle and be involved in any specific way.  He relies on others.  Also, Macbeth's position of authority is confirmed when Duncan is murdered and his heirs flee, and Macbeth is made king. 

Second, Macbeth is a castle owner, which means he is wealthy and influential.  He is a noble, though between his winning the battle at the beginning of the play, and his own fearless death, he doesn't act very nobly. 

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 21, 2010 at 6:42 AM (Answer #2)

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In the play "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare, the author shows us a talented man who has the potential to go two ways - either up or down. We know he is talented as he is skilled in battle - even the witches call "hail MacBeth." He is either high-born or has won his lands through brave allegiance to his leige. Yet, in every man there is a flaw, or maybe many. Shakespeare is about to show us the choice MacBeth is offered and what choice he makes - noble and full of integrity or self-seeking and flawed. MacBeth unfortunately cannot overcome his own nature, whether high-born or not. He suffers from a malleable suggestible personality where his bravery has nowhere productive to go, except downwards.

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