Causes Of Macbeth's Downfall Of A Tragic Hero Essay

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Topics: Macbeth, Anxiety
The Downfall of a Tragic Hero Macbeth is initially a character of nobility, virtue, and greatness. However, even though Macbeth is preeminently great, he is not a perfect being. He is ultimately influenced by those that surround him, resulting in conflict and misfortune. He is a tragic hero. Throughout the play, Macbeth’s character is consumed by his ambition, revealing the aspects that induce his character and downfall: greed, guilt, and fear. Macbeth’s venerable character takes a drastic shift after he hears about his prophecies from the witches. When Macbeth learns about them, he becomes filled with revelation and confusion. However, he also develops a sense of greed after two of the prophecies are seen to be true, driving him into fulfilling …show more content…
After the assassination of Duncan, Macbeth is clouded with guilt, as he believes that he has murdered innocence itself. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” (2.2.61–64). Macbeth describes the immense guilt that he experiences by stating that blood from his hands will stain the seas and turn the green to red. Throughout the play, blood serves as a symbol of guilt, as Macbeth agonizes over the blood on his hands. The blood transforms Macbeth into a character of apprehension, causing his actions to become unethical as he is placed into a state insanity. The overwhelming guilt leads to the paranoia of Macbeth and results in his inability to perceive his own morals. For example, at the dinner table, Macbeth sees a ghost of Banquo. “Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee. Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold. Thou hast no speculation in those eyes which thou dost glare with!” (3.4.97–101). The ghost is an epitome of Macbeth’s guilt, revealing his paranoia to the audience. He is temporarily placed into an illusory world from the resulting murder that he commits. His guilt has developed to the point where he cannot contain his sanity, nor discern reality from …show more content…
This change is guided by the fear he experiences from his thoughts and actions. The idea of being caught for treason petrifies Macbeth, so he desperately attempts to conceal the truth. In Macbeth’s soliloquy, he says, “Our fears in Banquo / Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature / Reigns that which would be feared” (2.1.51–53). The fear that Macbeth shoulders of Banquo precipitates the thoughts and actions of murder, as he is afraid of being overthrown. In response, Macbeth assassinates those that he sees as a threat to himself and his lineage. However, assassinating those in Macbeth’s way only prove to instill more fear within him because the riddance of one enemy results in another. When he is unable to murder a threat to his crown, Fleance, he feels “cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in to saucy doubts and fears” (3.4.24–25). The presence of fear continues to dwell inside of Macbeth, even after murdering his own friend, Banquo, leading to a new fear for Fleance. This sustained sense of fear compels Macbeth to repeatedly murder those that pose a threat to him, creating and endless chain of death. From this, it is seen that fear is a motivating factor for the change in Macbeth’s character. Overall, the aspects of greed, guilt, and fear cause the vital shift in Macbeth’s character, as well as his downfall. This transformation makes Macbeth a dynamic tragic hero, as his actions

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