Macbeth: Hero Or Monster?


William Shakespeare wrote countless classical and world renowned works of art, whether it be plays or poetry. Shakespeare provided a sophisticated and humanistic view of the world through his romantic perspectives and his highly regarded tragedies. While most notable is his work, Romeo and Juliet, and arguable Julius Caesar, many people highly regard his work Macbeth, which focuses on the effects that political ambition, may cast on a person seeking power.

Like much of Shakespeare’s work, the main character is a complex one, with characteristics which contrast dialog, and under extenuating circumstances. However, the reader cannot help but question whether the character is good or whether they are evil: is Macbeth truly a war hero deserving of valor and respect, or is he a monster and thus irrevocably bad? The analysis of the work itself and of Macbeth’s character may point either direction. It is truly up for interpretation of the reader, as is the majority of Shakespeare’s work.

Macbeth is introduced to the reader and gives off the impression that he is a strong and diligent man and also a warrior. We do not meet Macbeth initially; actually, the introduction of his role is brought up in dialog from his captain, so immediately we must question whether or not there is bias in the description of him. Like many characters in Shakespearean dramas and tragedies, Macbeth turns out to be extremely plagued. Not only is he a wise man and particularly skilled, but he is also constantly doubting himself, struggling with inner turmoil, reminiscent of Hamlet. While Macbeth is extremely ambitious, he often questions if he is capable.

Macbeth lacks a sincere strength in character, which is shown throughout the play. Through a series of different situations and circumstances, Macbeth finds himself bringing to light what exactly this lethal combination of bravery, self-flagellation and indecision may cause. He is not able to cope with or properly respond to the consequences he has positioned himself for, and slowly begins to unravel and fade. Macbeth ends up murdering Duncan, and may seek to justify the fact that they believe he is evil.

However, unlike the many antagonists in Shakespeare’s work, Macbeth is not a strong-willed character, and he lacks the strength that Edmund from King Lear, or Richard the third from Richard III had. While Macbeth was reckless, it’s questionable whether or not he is truly evil. The majority of the aspects of the play point directly to no; however, Shakespeare may have simply created an evil character with sincere complexities.