Macbeth as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Play

951 Words4 Pages
Macbeth as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Play The play ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare charts the rise and fall of the Scottish general Macbeth, through a tale of treachery, deceit and death. First performed in 1606 ‘Macbeth’ is inspired by a story of the Scottish monarchy. A tragic hero is one who at the outset is not wholly good or bad but has a character fault that causes them to make tragic mistakes resulting in their eventual downfall. ‘Macbeth’ is a renaissance tragedy and we can see that Macbeth’s decisions to move away from war hero to noble aggressor as an example of him being an archetypal renaissance tragic hero. We can define ‘Macbeth’ as a renaissance tragedy because Macbeth determined his own fate by deciding to sin, for example, killing King Duncan. Macbeth also had a tragic flaw or hamartia, which was his vaulting and uncontrollable ambition. To the Greeks hamartia resulted from ignorance, something the hero could not control. Macbeth was responsible for his own fate and was not a victim of a cruel trick played on him by the gods. This alone proves that Macbeth is a renaissance, not a Greek tragedy. Throughout the play there are a number of ongoing themes which include how the desire to have power and unchecked ambition can make people corrupt, for example Macbeth’s ambition for kingship overpowers his principles and his friendships for King Duncan and Banquo. The roles of men and women in this play are very well defined even if the roles are not traditionally Shakespearean “When you durst do it, then you were the man. And to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man.” Act 1, Scene 7, ... ... middle of paper ... ... the crime is punished by their own deaths. Another symbol used in the play is the raven symbolizing ill omen. The raven is often referred to as a storm crow since it tells of an upcoming storm. It served the same purpose in the play being seen before tense parts. Another symbol in the play is sleep. Sleep represents innocence, because when one is asleep one is very vulnerable to attack and one can also not commit any crimes when asleep and those who cannot have sleep are so because they have lost their innocence and are overcome with guilt and paranoia. In conclusion I believe that Macbeth fits the role of renaissance tragic hero. I think this because he is responsible for his own downfall and this downfall comes about because of a tragic flaw. Macbeth’s tragic flaw was his vaulting ambition to become king.
Open Document