Why does Shakespeare have Macbeth display certain admirable traits at the end of The Tragedy of Macbeth?

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tripod250 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Macbeth, Macbeth develops and changes drastically throughout the course of the play. He begins as a noble warrior for Scotland and ends as a tyrant and murderer. At the end of the play, Macbeth knows that he will most likely die. He has seen Birnam Wood move to Dunsinane, and he knows that he is fighting Macduff, who is not born of a woman. The witches prophesied that he would be overtaken when these two things occurred. Therefore, at this point in the play, Macbeth knows he is going to die. However, in his death he does show bravery, courage, and honor. He knows that Macduff will most likely overtake him and kill him. Yet he does not back down. He says, "Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff" (Act 5 Scene 8). He does not give up and surrender even though he knows he is going to die. Courage, honor, and bravery are positive characteristics that Macbeth showcases here at the end of his life. In his plays, Shakespeare showcases human nature. Many times we as humans want to end our lives on a positive note. For some people this might mean reconciling with another individual, or it could be donating money to a cause. Macbeth wants to end his life positively to try to "redeem" some of the bad choices he has made. Even though Macbeth deteriorated as a character throughout the play, he ends his life in an admirable way.