Macbeth As A Tragic Hero Essay

1010 words - 4 pages

A tragic hero is defined as a person who holds a seat of authority or power, but is doomed to eventually fall. The hero's tragic flaw, usually hubris or hamartia (excessive pride and rashness respectively), results in a spiraling downfall. Macbeth exemplifies these characteristics of a tragic hero. He is of noble birth and succumbs to hubris and his ambitious nature. By being victimized by not only the witches, but also his wife and the reader's sympathy towards him, Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as a tragic hero.Macbeth first meets the witches that will ultimately decide his fate in Act 1. The witches have the ability to foresee the future, which enables them to make predictions as to what will happen to Macbeth in the future. The witches first spark Macbeth's ambition when they hint at Macbeth's future by saying, "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!" (Act 1, Scene III). Macbeth was Thane of Glamis at the time of hearing this from the witches and soon King Duncan pronounced that Macbeth would take the traitorous Macdonwald's place as Thane of Cawdor after Macbeth personally killed him in battle. King Duncan says, "No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death and with his former title greet Macbeth." The witch's first premonition has come true and Macbeth has begun his rise in power and stature. These predictions have brought his ambitions and pride to life, which will eventually lead to Duncan's murder by Macbeth's hands. The witches have, in a way, victimized Macbeth, which generates sympathy in the reader.Macbeth is also a victim of his wife, Lady Macbeth. Although Macbeth wants to continue his rise in power, he has no intention of committing murder to obtain status. When his wife suggests action, Macbeth is very hesitant to agree. "We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honored me of late, and I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people, which would be worn now in their newest gloss, not cast aside so soon" (Act I, Scene VII). Lady Macbeth, however, wants to be more powerful as well as less feminine, which she can obtain vicariously through Macbeth. She says, "Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty!" (Act I, Scene V). To gain power for herself, she tricks Macbeth into killing Duncan. Although Macbeth is ambitious, he is a naturally good person. He needs to ambitious as any successful leader needs to be. Without ambition, a leader has no motivation and makes no progress. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband and coerces him into killing King Duncan. She tells Macbeth the plan when she says, "But screw your to the sticking-place, and we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep his two camberlains Will I with wine and wassail so...

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