Macbeth as a Tragic Hero

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Written by M.A. 3-5-12
Macbeth as a Tragic Hero

The character Macbeth, in Shakespeare’s Tragedy Macbeth displays several characteristics of a tragic hero. Common traits that tragic heroes possess are they are born of noble birth, their actions result in an increase of self-awareness and self-knowledge, the audience must feel pity and fear for this character and the most important, they have a tragic flaw that eventually leads to his downfall. Tragic heroes also make choices that bring about their own destruction, although sometimes questionable to fate. According to Aristotle, “A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.”

This relates to Macbeth because Macbeth seems fated by the Gods or by some supernatural forces to doom and destruction. Macbeth was born of noble birth, and ended up being the King of Scotland. After Macbeth murdered Duncan and Banquo, he was very aware of how guilty he was. This is evidently displayed when he sees Banquo as a ghost at the banquet table. Macbeth also says that he is in this situation so deep, that it would be as harder to turn around and stop killing people than to continue to murder those that get in his way. However “evil” Macbeth comes across, the reader still feels guilty for him. The reader can relate to Macbeth’s desires, to be the King of Scotland, because every person wishes for power.

The main attribute of a tragic hero is they possess a flaw that leads to their downfall. In Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, the main character of Macbeth’s trait that leads to his destruction is ambition and greed. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth isn’t that ambitious, but as soon as the witches predict that he will be King of Scotland, Macbeth gets persuaded by Lady Macbeth to murder Duncan. This is when Macbeth gains his tragic flaw; after this, he becomes so maliciously ambitious he is willing to kill anyone that gets in his way, including Banquo and Macduff.

From the beginning to the...
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