A Shakesperean Tragic Hero - Macbeth Essay

A Shakesperean Tragic Hero - Macbeth Essay

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A Shakespearean tragic hero may be defined as “an exceptional being of high degree” who contributes to his own degeneration and illustrates a personality flaw. The character of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is in all ways the perfect example of a tragic hero. His greatness and bravery in battle for his country ultimately leads him to be a great thane and eventually a powerful king, making his actions have a significant impact on a country. Macbeth’s ambition on becoming a king leads to an obsession to remain in his current position. His ambition comes to a point where he falls to the temptation of evil which leads to Macbeth’s inevitable downfall. There are many factors which contribute to the fall of Macbeth. The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth's fall are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to a violent individual. He is very ambitious, courageous, and a moral coward: all of these things lead to his tragic death at the end of the play.

The prophecies which were told by the witches were one of the factors which contributed to the fall of his character. If it had not been for the witches telling him that he was to be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland, Macbeth would still be his ordinary self. As a result of the prophecies, this aroused Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. The witches who symbolized Macbeth’s evil ambitions put his thoughts into actual words. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies. Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy ...


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...rder Macduff’s wife and family when he knew that their death would not aid him in any way. He became so isolated, to the point where he could not trust any of the other lords ("There’s not a one of them but in this house I keep a servant fee’d"). His cruelty and treachery ended up making all of Scotland suffer ("Sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air, are made, not mark’d").

Macbeth started as a courageous and brave general who loved his wife very much. But because of the faults that must accompany every tragic hero, he was led to his ruin by his overwhelming ambition, superstition and moral cowardice. Macbeth changed from a noble hailed as the savior of his country, a "valiant cousin," a "worthy gentleman," to a man of boundless cruelty.

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