Is Macbeth a Tragic Hero?

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Lucy Snyder10.22.10
E5-17 Period 6Homework
Macbeth: the Ultimate Tragic Hero

The story of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is extremely well known and has been read and told for many years. Macbeth’s characteristics are very distinct, although they change throughout the course of the play. It is Macbeth who makes the story compelling and interesting. He is the protagonist in the play, but along with this, he also has a huge flaw, which results in the turn of events in the story. Macbeth is a tragic hero; a character that suffers from a terrible imperfection and ends up defeated.

According to Aristotle, a tragic hero must have four specific characteristics: goodness, superiority, a tragic flaw, and the eventual realization that his actions have caused his downfall. Macbeth’s goodness was evident when he was introduced to us in the first scene. Through Shakespeare’s exposition, Macbeth was portrayed as a noble and patriotic hero, fighting for his country and King Duncan. Even after greedy thoughts pass through his head, he feels guilt. Macbeth is a superior character because of his promotion to Thane of Cawdor by King Duncan. His tragic flaw is his paranoia, expressed immediately after his first meeting with the witches. He doubts their sureness and wants to create the future that is laid out for him himself. Macbeth’s life turns into him murdering anyone who might threaten or harm his future in any way. Eventually, Macbeth came to the realization that he is in deep water. However, he decided to move forward and continue his ineffective and troubling way of life. This leads to Macbeth’s death. He finally has to face his fear and stand up to fight his enemy. In Act V, Scene 8, some of Macbeth’s final words are, “… Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield.”

The main component of a tragic hero is his flaw or hamartia. Macbeth was an overly paranoid character, which caused him to act irrationally. At one point, he looks back...
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