Macbeth: a Tragic Hero

Topics: Aristotle, Tragedy, William Shakespeare Pages: 4 (1453 words) Published: April 26, 2005
Tragedy occurs to some more often to others, but most define it differently. Webster's Dictionary defines it as "a kind of drama in which some fatal or mournful event occurs" (764). To philosophers and traditional writers philosophy takes on another meaning. For example, to famous philosophical figure Aristotle, "tragedy occurs when noble or great persons are led, through pride or a secret flaw in their personalities, to suffering that changes their fortune. The tragic hero must begin in a high position and end in death or some sort of degraded role" (Definitions of Tragedy). Based on human nature, Aristotle's philosophy of tragedy, and current literary criticism of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the main character, Macbeth, is classified as a tragic hero.

Born in 384 B.C. at Stagirus, well known philosopher Aristotle was a student to Plato for over twenty years. Growing up on this Greek Colony and attending lectures, he acquired and retained new information. His father was a well known physician and scientist therefore Aristotle's knowledge was broadened by his father. Unlike Plato, Aristotle studied the natural and sensory world; "while Plato used his reason, Aristotle used his senses" (Gaarder 107) He said that "things that are in the human soul were purely reflections of natural objects" (Gaarder 107). Aristotle believed that reason is mans most distinguishing characteristic; Macbeth had great lack of reason. When the first murder occurred, Macbeth did not anticipate the outcomes of the events, thus is soul was infected with selfish thought, and to him, nothing else mattered.

A human soul in Aristotle's words is "the perfect expression or realization of a natural body," which Macbeth follows (Aristotle). His internal instinct led his actions and soon to his main goal. Fellow philosopher Democritus, (460-370 B.C.), believed that all men are just mechanical and made up of different substances (Gaarder 44). If, his belief that there is no spiritual fore in...
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