Do you feel any simpathy for Macbeth? Why or why not?

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Macbeth at first seems a somewhat sympathetic character, if only because he knows initially that what he is doing is wrong. In other words, he is not a psychopath: he has some moral sense. If he were a psychopath, we would not sympathize with him. If he were a total victim, he could not be a tragic figure. Instead, he is a complicated human being with a complex moral nature, although by the end of the play he becomes one of the least morally attractive of all of Shakespeare's tragic figures.

In order for Macbeth to truly be a tragic hero, he must be a man of greatness to begin with, and he is.  In Act I, for instance, the captain relates the acts of "brave Macbeth" as he fought the "merciless Macdonwald."  And, as a tragic figure, Macbeth falls from greatness, a fall that is always cause for sympathy.  For, he has been, indeed, a noble warrior; he has truly loved his wife and respected the king Duncan.  But, his "vaulting ambition," of which he is aware, has wrought his destruction.


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