What arguments could you make against why macbeth should have the audiences sympathy

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drsuman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

normally the traditional trend of critical response is that Macbeth deserves the sympathy of the audience because of his mountainous sufferings, his conscience acting against the initial murder which is testified by his hallucination of the dagger with gouts of blood on its hilt, and so on. Most significantly, what is asserted is after all he was "noble", "valiant"and "Bellona's bridegroom". His treading the path of evil leading to his death is a great loss of potential and that the sense of waste of such a grand life evokes tragic emotions in favour of Macbeth.

There are many points that can be cited to prove the contrary. First, that Macbeth did not stop with the murder of Duncan. He did not keep on suffering from qualms of conscience, but kept on mercileesly treading the path of murder only to serve the selfish end of preserving the crown for himself to be later passed on to his progeny. he had plotted the murder of Banquo and Fleance, lest fleance inherits the throne as prophesied by the witches. Then, h4e cannot brook dissident opinion, as Macduff's absence from the royal banquet fuels his anger and learning that Macduff is fled, he immediately orders the merciless butchering of Macduff's innocent wife and children, a crime which no logic can atone. In fact, Macbeth's life is a procession of crimes committed to serve a selfish end.

The obvious question then arises: Is not Macbeth the hero of the play. Shakespeare makes him a hero no doubt, but a criminal hero, a person having heroic potentials but with a criminal's career.