Macbeth a Tragic Hero

Topics: Macbeth, Tragic hero, Three Witches Pages: 6 (935 words) Published: January 11, 2013
The qualities that Macbeth possesses and the circumstances that he went through

make him a classic tragic hero. Macbeth’s noble birth and good character show him to be

a fine man and well liked. But like all tragic heroes Macbeth’s tragic flaw overtakes him

and he falls into a spiral of self-destruction. As Macbeth comes to terms with his wrong

doings the audience feels pity for Macbeth. These things contributed make Macbeth a

tragic hero.

In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the main character Macbeth comes

from a noble line, “Great Glamis!”(I, v, 55), and he is and outstanding citizen whose

honorable qualities make him well liked by all those who know him, “For brave

Macbeth-well he deserves that name”(I, II, 16). The people love and think highly of the

thane. Even the king becomes impressed with the things he has heard about Macbeth’s

courage and bravery. Macbeth holds a great amount of potential to move up even higher

in society if he chooses to use it. However Macbeth encounters the weird sisters who give

him new ideas to think about. The weird sisters meet Macbeth after the great battle,

where they tell Macbeth shocking things about his future, “Hail to thee Thane of

Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!”(I, iii, 49-50). The weird sisters

message about his future get Macbeth thinking of how he will end up becoming king, and

this thinking leads him down a very destructive path.

Like all tragic heroes Macbeth has a tragic flaw that pilots his destruction, and he

suffers from unchecked ambition. One might say that his wife or the witches tricked him

into committing murder, but they only suggested the path of evil, Macbeth chose it for

himself. The witches only had to plant the idea of Macbeth becoming king for him to

start having awful imaginings and horrible thoughts, “If good, why do I yield to that

suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at

my ribs, against the use of nature? Present fears are less than horrible imaginings,”(I, iii.

134-139). Macbeth even knows what he is thinking is wrong and wants to hide his

desires, “For in my way it lies. Stars hide you fires; let not light see my black and deep

desires,”(I, v. 50-51). Even the witches had not planned for Macbeth to go on a killing

spree, Macbeth now has his own ends in mind, “He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear

his hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear: Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.”(III, v. 30-31).

Macbeth’s over leaping ambition is his downfall, not his wife’s urges or the witches

visions but his own flaw.

By the turning point in the play Macbeth and lady Macbeth have switched roles,

Macbeth becomes cruel and over ambitious, he uses manipulative tactics to get his way,

and no longer consults his wife about his schemes. Lady Macbeth on the other hand has

become fearful and unhappy about what they have done. Once Macbeth decides on his

own to kill his friend Banquo, he falls into a pit of despair, he has reached the height of

his paranoia and his situation only becomes worse from there. Macbeth then become

completely insane and begins to kill or try to kill anyone person that seems to threaten his

position. Macbeth especially wants Macduff dead, but when he cannot be found

Macbeth kills Macduff’s entire family, “The castle of Macduff I will surprise; seize upon

Fife; give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace

his line.”(IV, ii. 150-153). Macbeth does not have any rational reasons for committing

this murder just pure paranoia and tyranny. Macbeth has reached rock bottom.

Macbeth’s flaw has caused him to push everyone who cares for him away or

murder them. Macbeth’s crimes have disillusioned him and caused him to think he is

invincible, but he believes falsely. Macbeth thinks his fortress...
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