Macbeth is heroic in his reckless, courageous approach to life, in his defiance of fate and even in his struggle with himself. The descriptions of his bravery in I.ii show that his courage is not in question. This is a courage he never loses, though it wavers from time to time. Even when he has just murdered his king, there is a grandeur about Macbeth that makes him a tragic hero: a great man who has erred greatly and suffered greatly rather than a petty traitor like the former Thane of Cawdor. He describes his sin with the imagery of gods and oceans:
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
Macbeth is heroic even in his villainy. He has a hero’s code of physical courage and valor, so that part of his downfall is attributable to his trafficking with the powers of darkness, which do not behave in an heroic way or allow him to do so. Faced with Banquo ’s ghost, he protests that...
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