Downfall In Macbeth

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The organization of downfall in Shakespearean tragedy borrows much from that of Greek tragedy. The points of variation between the two forms of the genre are often drawn not in tangible literary differences, but in premise of manner of downfall. One distinction observed between the two dramas is that of the roles of destiny or lack thereof. The disputed definition of hamartia helps explain and expand this. Either type of tragedy can be distinguished by the feature of a hamartia, a tragic flaw and ultimate determinant of a hero’s downfall, as being built on by an unavoidable force or event, as opposed to being directly caused by a hero’s wrongdoings, or vise versa. In order to draw a contrast between the differing roles of the element of determinism…show more content…
The drama otherwise follows a similar pattern of Greek tragedy; in defining Macbeth’s ultimate tragic flaw and cause of his downfall, however, he and the plot and organization of the tragedy is caused primarily by human error, provoked by supernatural and fate (Bradley).Whatever force might otherwise be detailed in determinism and used as a basis for a hamartia, downfall and tragic philosophy, the closest Shakespeare comes is in his supernatural element, mainly encompassing the role of the witches, of Macbeth (Bradley).Their irrelevance to this tragic element of the drama, however, is observed throughout the plot of the novel, wherever the hero is approached by supernatural.The prophecy of the witches is not another force creating Macbeth’s downfall, but rather the message to provoke him into insanity and drive him to his end, and a reflection of his inner flaws (Shakespeare). His downfall is not predicted or caused by a supernatural force, so that Macbeth’s murder sprees, his guilt, his insanity and death and all aspects of his downfall are ultimately done at his own hand and in free will where no factor playing into was unavoidable (Bradley). Macbeth’s tragic flaw is in character traits, where his downfall is entirely his own fault and human error, so that the tragedy of Macbeth is completely unrelated to determinism and puts forth another theme…show more content…
As opposed to Macbeth featuring a hero’s downfall caused by his own actions but provoked by supernatural and godly forces, the downfall of Oedipus is caused not by any single action which he commits in the course of the tragedy but rather unavoidable events predicted by oracles, this drama’s equivalent to Macbeth’s witches (Segal). While many of the uncontrollable forces affecting and causing the king’s downfall are not immediately supernatural either, seen in the seemingly ungodly circumstances of chance and unlikely interactions focused throughout the play (Sophocles), the multiple predictions of his downfall by oracle suggests divine intervention and the inevitability of Oedipus’ downfall (Segal). Contrary to Macbeth’s tragic flaw of character trait, Oedipus’ hamartia is not displayed in his own action but rather in the foreordination of his downfall by another force (Segal), creating a clearer disconnect between the philosophies of this Greek tragedy and Shakespearean
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