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Thesis: Shakespeare used the same definition of tragedy when he wrote Macbeth, and when he wrote Hamlet; Shakespearean tragedies use supernatural incidents to intrigue the reader’s interest, and his plays consist of a hero that has a tragic flaw (sometimes the want for the supernatural) which causes him to make a fatal mistake.
Shakespeare always used the same elements of tragedy when he wrote his tragedies. These tragedies can be compared easily, especially Macbet and Hamlet. Shakespearean tragedies use supernatural incidents to intrigue the reader’s interest, and they consist of a hero that has a tragic flaw (sometimes the desire for the supernatural) which causes him to make a fatal mistake. Shakespeare followed this pattern in all of his tragedies; therefore the similarities between Macbeth and Hamlet can easily be defined and discussed.
Shakespeare immediately started Macbeth with a supernatural scene. The three witches set the somber and evil tone of the plot. In Hamlet, Shakespeare also presented a supernatural occurrence close to the opening. The ghost of Hamlet’s father presented itself to Hamlet with a chilling story. In both situations, the tragic hero was not sure whether the spirits were good or evil.
The presentation of the supernatural began to lead to the final downfall of each of the characters. In Macbeth, the three witches caused him to think and do evil deeds. If he had never met the witches, he would not have been tempted to murder the king; therefore, he would not have placed himself in the position that he felt he needed to kill everyone who crossed his path. If he hadn’t been so treacherous, Macduff would not have called for war, and he would not have murdered him. In Hamlet, if he had not seen the ghost of his father, he would not have known that the reigning king had committed murder to gain the throne. If Hamlet hadn’t known this vital piece of information, the final battle would never have taken place, and Hamlet would have lived. In both instances the characters gave into the nagging supernatural beliefs, and hence they lost their lives.
It is evident that Shakespeare used a strong, similar story line in all of his tragedies. Apparently, Macbeth and Hamlet are similar stories in numerous ways. Shakespeare found a method that worked, would sell, and then he stuck with it.