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Paper Topic:

Shakespeare: Political Loyalty and Betrayal

Political Loyalty and Betrayal in the Major Tragedies

Of Shakespeare KET[7184]

Shakespearian tragedies especially Macbeth , Hamlet , Othello and King Lear are chiefly the tales of loyalties and betrayals , of building trust and its nullification , of reaching the acme of achievements and its negation at the

very next moment . They are not only the tales of falling from the Olympian heights of the tragic heroes or heroines but at the same time they evoke a cathartic purgation in the readers or audience

Why such degrading proclivity in the characters is seen

? A logic is not far to seek . It may be hamartia in the protagonist or any major character . To be precise , the tragic flaw[hamartia] in their characters sometimes goads them on to betray the person or the system they are otherwise loyal to . If such be the reason , the characters stand somewhat exonerated from the guilt heaped on them

And that is again one reason why the four major Shakespearian tragedies have a common trend of perpetration of wrong and catastrophe at the end Some critics may argue that it is the general structure of a Shakespearian tragedy . But , that is no argument , no logical reasoning even . The real reason lies in the characters themselves . After all , with Shakespeare , Character is Destiny

We are now taking up the great tragedies and showing how the similar or dissimilar the key-points which emerge . Let us also survey whether the four protagonists of the four great tragedies have any trait in common in their characters or not

Let us now take a plunge into the plays in particular . First , let us take up Macbeth for discussion . In Macbeth , the protagonist harbors a tragic flaw and that is vaulting ambition . At the outset , Macbeth is seen to be loyal to King Duncan , the King of Scotland , who showers affection on Macbeth , the Thane of Glamis and then the Thane of Cawdor by extolling him as Noble Macbeth , valor 's minion , our captain , so forth . Surprisingly enough , the former Thane of Cawdor proved a betrayer of his trust and hence the title was conferred upon noble Macbeth , whose loyalty he had full faith in . Macbeth too was truly and unflinchingly loyal to King Duncan . But , everything went haywire by the insinuating predictions of the three witches on the heath . The seeds of loyalty further got sown when Duncan expressed his desire to pay a visit to Macbeth 's new castle . To Lady Macbeth it was a rare opportunity to make her dream of being the Queen of Scotland come true . She got down to provoke Macbeth to perpetrate a heinous crime , the murder of Duncan , thus attaining the role of the Fourth Witch . Macbeth though goaded to commit the detestable , unpardonable crime , was still wavering between Scylla and Charybdis , suffering from indecision . The dithers in the mind of the protagonist points to the fact that he was still harboring a considerably sterling part of his self within . While he uttered

He 's here in double...

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