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Shakespeares tragedies frequently include major symbols that reveal the characters stage of internal transition from an esteemed hero to a despised villain These plays beginning with the central character established at the top of hero cycle It quickly becomes evident however that the character possesses a destructive flaw As the plot progresses this flaw magnifies and propels him further down the hero cycle At last his life is desiccated and he becomes the antithesis of the hero at the start of the play Such a descent is clearly demonstrated in Shakespeares Macbeth The play commences by establishng Macbeth as the hero of Scotland His valiant battles against the treacherous rebels gains him the respect and honour of his country However a prophecy awakens an oer vaulting ambition within Macbeth a tragic flaw that provokes his descent down the hero cycle Macbeths ambition is manifested in the form of a dagger which lures him to kill Duncan so that he can become King As Macbeth continues to descend his mind becomes plagued with guilt in the form of scorpions that torture him to confess and atone However Macbeth knows that he can no longer undo his unspeakable deeds and that his only options are to continue killing or confess and be killed Hence he persists with his plan to murder Banquo and his son in order to secure his position as King Macbeths ambition continues to kill his dignity until finally he has sunk to mindlessly slaughtering women and children By killing the child who is the model of innocence truth and morality Macbeth demonstrates that he has at last destroyed his dignity Now Macbeth has reached the bottom of the hero cycle and become the antithesis of who he initially was To depict Macbeths descent from an outstanding warrior to a ruthless fiend Shakespeare manipulates the symbols of the battle the dagger the scorpions and the killing of women and children Shakespeare uses contrasting
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