Arguments with proof for an essay on Macbeths themes (i have to prepare for my exam and these are the possible themes we will have to write about below What is a thesis for each of the following...

Arguments with proof for an essay on Macbeths themes (i have to prepare for my exam and these are the possible themes we will have to write about below

What is a thesis for each of the following themes, and 3 arguments with quotations as proof per thesis. (If its too much you can pick one or two of the themes to do)

Here are the Themes:

1. Ambition

2. Evil in all its form

3. Loyalty and betrayal

4. Appearance vs. Reality

5. Guilt and conscience

6. The concept of a tragic hero in Shakespeare

7. Order vs. Disorder

8. Equivocation


Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The concept of the tragic hero, within Macbeth, is perhaps the easiest.  According to Aristotle's Poetic, there are six main characteristics which align with the tragic hero.

1.  The tragic hero is a character of noble stature and has greatness.  This should be readily evident in the play.  The character must occupy a "high" status position but must ALSO embody nobility and virtue as part of his/her innate character.

Here, Macbeth initially embodies virtue.  His loyalty to Duncan, in the beginning, shows that he is a noble and virtuous character.  He is also regarded as being great. "I only have left to say,/More is thy due than more than all can pay" (I, iv, 23-24) Duncan to Macbeth

2.  Though the tragic hero is pre-eminently great, he/she is not perfect.  Otherwise, the rest of us--mere mortals--would be unable to identify with the tragic hero.  We should see in him or her someone who is essentially like us, although perhaps elevated to a higher position in society.

Readers can relate to Macbeth. In the beginning, he seems to be a man who upholds virtuous and noble behaviors. (See quote above.)

3.  The hero's downfall, therefore, is partially her/his own fault, the result of free choice, not of accident or villainy or some overriding, malignant fate.  In fact, the tragedy is usually triggered by some error of judgment or some character flaw that contributes to the hero's lack of perfection noted above.   This error of judgment or character flaw is known as hamartia and is usually translated as "tragic flaw".

Many have tried to argue whose fault Macbeth's downfall is.  In the end, a person must always turn to themselves to truly understand the position they are in.  Macbeth is no different.  It was his choice to murder in order to gain the crown.  Just because it was stated in a prophecy does not make it any less his fault in the claiming of the crown.  Macbeth has freewill- and he executed his will in his murderous pace for the crown.

4.  The hero's misfortunate is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime.

Here is where Macbeth falls away from the characteristics of the tragic hero. He committed murder and, in the end, was murdered.  His punishment did not exceed his crime.

5.  The fall is not pure loss. There is some increase in awareness, some gain in self-knowledge, some discovery on the part of the tragic hero..

Again, one cannot see Macbeth as a tragic hero if aligning him with this characteristic.  He did suffer loss in his fall. Not only does Macbeth lose his life, he lost his virtuousness.

6.  Though it arouses solemn emotion, tragedy does not leave its audience in a state of depression.

In the end, many readers do not leave Macbeth feeling depressed. For some, Macbeth got what was coming to him.

Therefore, a thesis comparing Macbeth to a tragic hero could look something like this:

While Macbeth does embody some of the characteristics of a tragic hero, he fails to meet the ones considered most important.

While Macbeth does embody a few of the characteristics of a tragic hero, the fact that he falls short on meeting all of them do not make him a tragic hero.