Macbeth and Tragic Flaw

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Macbeth and Tragic Flaw

Tragic flaw is defined as a personality flaw that makes the person commit a serious mistake so gravely that it can cause him/her death. A tragic flaw can also refer to a flawed judgment that a character has passed over a course of action, which is sadly irrevocable. In “Into the Wild”, Chris McCandless can be said to have committed a tragic flaw which has resulted in his death. By stubbornly clinging onto his ideal way to live, McCandless boldly leaves everything behind and ventures alone into the Alaska wilderness. Without being aware of what is to expect in Alaska and with very little preparation, McCandless simply died of starvation in a place where he presumed to be perfect. His death is ironic because instead of finding his paradise in Alaska, he finds his burial place.

Similarly, the tragedy of Macbeth is caused by his tragic flaw. While being persistent in one’s belief is a virtue, too much of it becomes a deadly flaw for McCandless. In parallel, when Macbeth is filled with excessive ambition, then ambition ceases to be a positive motivator but becomes a deadly flaw for him. His ambition, based on his greed for power, has caused him unspeakable misery and torture. It has robbed him of the joy of comradeship with his wife, the bliss of friendship and respect from his people, and finally the very essence of his life – soul – as he sells himself to the evil forces. Hence, such tragic flaw has made him lose everything that he sees valuable before he loses the ultimate – his life.

Macbeth’s tragic flaw begins as Macbeth chooses to believe in the witches’ prophecy. He secretly takes delight in the promotion to the title of Thane of Cawdor – “two truths are told/as happy prologues to the swelling act/of the imperial theme” (I.iii.126-129). This ambition translates to an immense power that blinds him from moral senses of right and wrong. He reckons that it is his “vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself” (I.vii.27) and makes him...
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