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Yet both Macbeth’s actions and character seem to be weak and immoral.The waste of potential becomes evident as Macbeth turns from a hero into a tragic hero, and starts to take lives as if they are worthless.
Life is taken for granted, and tossed away as if it’s merely an old toy.
Honour and potential of great men tarnished due to their greed and power hunger. C Bradley proposes: The central feeling of a tragedy is one of waste.
The waste of Macbeth’s innocence although unintentional to him, is what begins the waste concept.
The potential someone has is based on their character and their actions and how they incorporate the two into life situations.
An unusually fine and still informative example of how "old" historicists improved on Bradley is W. Curry's attention to the unusual word "germens," which occurs only in Lear and Macbeth.
(1) Bringing his knowledge of medieval philosophy to the task, Curry pointed out that both passages draw on a neo-Platonic and stoic idea that when God transformed chaos into created matter, God first made "seeds of reason" (logoi spermatakoi in Greek, translated as rationes seminales in Latin), which mediate between ideal forms in the divine mind and material essences.
Abstract: The tragic quality of Macbeth is inseparable from the play's imaginative eliciting of compassion on an explicitly Christian model. New historicists are more interested in irony than tragedy, and they understand religion as a function of social or psychological relations.
Bradley understood Shakespearean tragedy as inherent in character, and the historicists who reacted to Bradley reaffirmed the importance of religion, but only as historical background.
He is a "man of action" who "has, within certain limits, the imagination of a poet" (352), and Bradley treats this quality first in his analysis of the play, because he maintains that Shakespeare's interest lay "in action issuing from character, or in character issuing in action," and "the supernatural" in tragedy "is always placed in the closest relation with character" (14).
Religion per se became more important for historically minded critics in the early- to mid-twentieth century who argued--contrary to Bradley--that Macbeth is about more than its principal character, because he functions in an imagined world conditioned by the cultural assumptions of its creator, and because a large part of what conditioned that world was religion.