"Macbeth" Test; Shakespeare

Essay by jakejacobsenHigh School, 12th gradeB+, March 2006

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Macbeth Test

1.) Samuel Johnson wrote, "... though the courage of Macbeth preserves some esteem, yet every reader rejoices at his fall." Do you agree? Support you answer with specific actions in the play.

Whether Macbeth's death is mourned or rejoiced depends completely on the reader and his or her opinion of the character. I believe that although it is a relief that Macbeth is dead, it is a shame that someone with such great ambition should have to be killed. Macbeth began the story as just another man; perhaps one that has proven himself in battle, but a man nonetheless. After his encounter with the weird sisters, he begins to change drastically. The three witches tell him that he is to become Thane of Cawdor and eventually King. This gets inside of Macbeth's head, and he begins desperately trying to make these prophecies come true. It is always appreciated whenever a character in a story has goals and ambitions and is willing to go to any extent to achieve them.

It gives the reader a sense of hope. However, Macbeth takes this to a new level. He is so ambitious that he is willing to kill anyone and everyone that gets in the way of his goal. His killings become so rampant and cold-blooded, that it becomes disgusting. His death is a relief from the perspective that he will no longer be able to end people's lives and he cannot cause any more pain and suffering. His death is at the same time mourned, because everyone can appreciate someone as ambitious as he is.

2.) According to the classical view, the undoing or downfall of the main character in a tragedy is brought about through a tragic flaw in his character or through a tragic error. What brought about...