In the play, Macbeth is of nobility, and experiences an epiphany as a result of his actions. Not only that, he has a specific tragic flaw and goes through a downfall which later results in his death. Because of these characteristics, Macbeth is a famous tragic hero.
Macbeth as a Shakespearean Tragic Hero In this essay I will be exploring how far Macbeth is considered to be a Shakespearean tragic hero. According to A.C Bradley, the man who defined what a Shakespearean tragic hero is, a typical Shakespearean tragic hero is a person of greatness and high power. We can see at the beginning of the play that Macbeth is the 'Thane of Glamis' but is then promoted, due to the execution of a traitor, to the 'Thane of Cawdor'. A Shakespearean tragic hero also has many character flaws, which lead to their downfall. Macbeth is an extremely ambitious character; he knows what he wants and how to get it, even if that means murdering Duncan to become King.
His flaw of being led too easily is evident through the actions of characters who influence Macbeth. Macbeth is involved in a story intertwined with evil, disorder, conflict and failure; all resulting finally in his death. Part of being a tragic hero is possessing a flaw. A flaw which will inevitably lead to self-destruction; the fall of the tragic hero. In the play, the central protagonist Macbeth, is confronted with the supernatural and the prophesy of becoming king.
Next, fear joins the audience during the scenes which involves Macbeth and the murderers. Fear is given to the audience when it is evident Macbeth has turned into a cold blooded killer, who is unpredictable and easily influenced: “It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight, If it find heaven, must find it out tonight” (III.i.146,147). At this point, it is evident Macbeth will murder Banquo. This creates a vast amount of fear within the audience, because they can foresee Macbeth’s downfall as he turns into a murderer and will commit more until he is ultimately killed.
Lear's pride not only altered his live alone, instead, it affected everyone around him down to the bottom of the social chain. Moreover, the realization of his true quality, pains and sufferings eventually leads to his tragic death which the most obvious element in a tragedy. Because Lear fulfills the "formula" of Shakespearean Tragedy, he could be firmly proven as tragic hero in the play.
His avidity towards gaining power leads to his tragic death. In conclusion, Macbeth has committed treasonous and despicable crimes to both his friend, Banquo and the King of Scotland in order to obtain rank. He may be referred to as a monster, however he is the classical definition of a tragic hero. His reversal of his fortune foreshadows his doom, despite his treacherous behaviour and disloyalty, the audience experiences sympathy for Macbeth and his ambitious nature evokes his tragic, untimely death. Shakespeare effectively uses Macbeth to model the dangers of unchecked ambition and its consequences.
“Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!” (II, ii, 35) His innocence was killed and he knows that he has to live with this guilt for the rest of his life, hence Macbeth will never sleep peacefully ever again. After each successive murder, Macbeth becomes more and more inhumane. “I am in blood Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o 'er.” (III, iv, 143-145) Macbeth claims that after committing a murder, there is no turning back. He killed his best friend due to his ambition and fear. The third murder was outright moralless and unnecessary, he compulsively killed Macduff’s wife and children.
Macbeth conforms to the image of the tragic hero by possessing a flaw and dying because of it. His flaw of being led too easily is evident through the actions of characters who influence Macbeth. Macbeth is involved in a story tangled with evil, disorder, conflict and failure which all resulting finally in his death. These factors of the play let Macbeth to fit all the characteristics of a tragic hero He is an important character in the play, has a character flaw, has good qualities, has someone to tempt him, deserves his fate, and was punished for the multiple crimes which he has committed. To me, Macbeth definitely is the tragic hero of the play
However, Wayne Booth’s, Shakespeare's Tragic Villain, he explains the audience lacks pity for Macbeth after he murders Macduff’s wife and children. By killing MacDuff’s wife and children, Macbeth demonstrates ruthless ambition and an absence of mercy, thus committing a great sin against his enemy. Any feeling of pity felt for Macbeth before this event has diminished and now the audience empathizes with MacDuff and the victims (Booth). In order to be defined as a tragic hero Macbeth must be pitied by the audience. In Macbeth’s battles against the Scottish he killed to protect his state.
William Shakespeare once indicated, “As he was valiant, I honour him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him,” yet this vehement desire Shakespeare loathed was the exact inner drive that forced one of his most famous characters into desolation. Furthermore, this character is depicted with ambivalence moral and is given the appellation of both a hero and a diabolical figure. In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, the central character is initially portrayed as a glorious and courageous noble. However, because of the atrocious murders he commits he is more of an acrimonious tyrant than a brave thane.