A tragic flaw is a characteristic present in the main character of every Shakespearean tragedy. Through Macbeth, Macbeth is fueled by a secret agenda. This agenda is his tragic flaw and leads Macbeth to his demise. At the beginning of the play Ambition is a protrusive characteristic of Macbeth, and leads to his first murder. The tragic flaw changes with the situation in the play, and after Macbeth’s murder of Duncan is fear. Later in the play when Macbeth is defeated, imagination causes his blind charge to his death. There are a wide variety of tragic flaws in Macbeth’s character however it can be narrowed down to three categories which are prominent, ambition, fear, and imagination.
Ambition is an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and willingness to strive for its attainment. Throughout the play Macbeth always wanted more power. At the beginning of the play Macbeth is wealthy, famous, and most of all trusted by the King, Duncan due to his title, Thane of Glamis. He seems content with his position until he hears the witches’, “prophetic greetings”. (I.III.81) The third witch greets Macbeth, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter,” this creates an ambition in Macbeth that is unseen before this remark. (I.III.53) He is filled with thoughts of betrayal and is eager to become King. He is unsure if he should act upon getting the title or if it will just end up in his hands however the Ambition in him pushes him towards taking action. The king refers to Macbeth as “, a gentleman on whom I built; an absolute trust” this is ironic because he mentions this when Macbeth is receiving an additional title, Thane of Cawdor and one of the witches prophecies proves true. (I.IV.15-16) The witches foretold this happening and created a deep want for power in Macbeth which makes him do thing he previously neglected. Upon receiving the honor of being Thane of Cawdor Macbeth invites King Duncan over... [continues]
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