Is Macbeth a Tragedy?

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A tragedy is often thought of as a sad, pitiful event. The factors used to label an event as tragic are the consequences and the lasting effects. For example, the consequences of one or more deaths can be seen as a tragedy. And tragedies are often remembered long after the event, clearly impacting the future for those involved. Many people interpret events such as a natural disaster, a death of a loved one, or a permanent disability as tragic. However, others say that this definition of a tragedy is incorrect and is misused in modern conversation. The people who think this way use the word tragedy to define literature. The literary definition of the word requires more careful consideration of the character and the overall effect of the play. In this literary sense, tragedy is defined by following four characteristics: first, the story must arouse pity and fear in the audience and/or reader; second, the story must call into question the man’s relationship with God; third, the tragic figure must be capable of great suffering, be highly sensitive, and possess a tragic flaw which leads to his/her own destruction; and fourth, in the end, the character becomes aware that his own flaw has doomed him, but he is powerless to prevent his inevitable destruction. These characteristics have been used by many people to determine whether pieces of literature are considered a tragedy. For example, using these characteristics, the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare is considered a tragedy. Macbeth is a tragedy because the play has all the characteristics in the literary definition of a tragedy.
Macbeth definitely arouses pity and fear in the audience/reader. The very first scene in the play instills fear in us audience members. The play opens in a wild and lonely place in medieval Scotland. Three witches enter, and in their cackling voices, they prophesize about the events that will happen in the future. For example, the witches predict that they will meet with the

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