A Shakespearean tragic hero starts out as a noble person; a great exceptional being who stands out. A tragic hero has a tragic flaw of an exaggerated trait that leads to their downfall and eventually to death. William Shakespeare often made his main characters tragic heroes in his plays. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the role of the tragic hero is given to the main character: Macbeth. This is because he starts off as a loyal and well liked man in the beginning, but has a tragic flaw of ambition which ultimately leads to his downfall.
Macbeth started off a great and noble man of Scotland and was honoured by the king and his people. He was thought of as a great man and brave among the soldiers. “…for brave Macbeth- well he is worthy of that name…” (I, ii, 26) The king thought so highly of Macbeth that when he killed the traitor Macdonwald, Duncan crowned Macbeth with the title of thane of Cawdor.
“And for an earnest and great honour,
He bade me, for him, call the thane of Cawdor:
In which addition hail, most worthy thane!
For it is thine!”(I, iii, 109-12)
As every tragic hero does, Macbeth also has a tragic flaw: ambition.
Macbeth can be considered a Shakespearean tragic hero because he possesses the tragic flaw of ambition. He is thought of to be a very ambitious man by himself and other characters, like his wife, Lady Macbeth. “Thou wouldst be great:/Art not without ambition, but/ Without the illness should attend it…” (I, v, 17-18)
She acknowledges Macbeth’s greatness and ambition, but she knows that he has too good a heart to achieve what he wants. She knows he needs motivation. Macbeth’s ambition was so great that he often thought of killing the king to become the king. He recalls a moment when he thought of killing Duncan after the encounter with the three witches.
“This supernatural soliciting
Cannot be ill; cannot be good; if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest success,
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose image doth unfix my hair?”(I, iii, 140-145)
This reveals that Macbeth’s character has a bit more evil in him than we are let on to believe. He also realizes that his ambition is making him get carried away and it is all happening rapidly. “…To prick the sides of my intent/ but only/...