The Frag Hero In Shakespeare's Macbeth As A Tragic Hero

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Is it possible to be a good person after committing murder? In the play Macbeth, the main character, Macbeth demonstrates that this is possible. Macbeth's driving ambition forces him to commit murder in order to gain and maintain his position as king of Scotland ultimately leading to his downfall. The mixed characteristics and fall from grace identifies Macbeth as an ideal tragic hero. Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero describes the character to be made up of six characteristics that sets the individual apart from the common man. To be considered a tragic hero one must have noble birth or be an important individual in their society. The tragic flaw in their character could lead the individual to suffer a drastic change or a tragic…show more content…
Throughout the tragedy, Macbeth is a quintessential example of a tragic hero. First and foremost, Macbeth exhibited noble birth when Duncan bestows him the new position as Thane of Cawdor. Duncan declares, “No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death and with his former title greet Macbeth” (I.ii.72-74). Macbeth's valiant war efforts lead him to victory over the Scottish army earning him the position of Thane of Cawdor. Therefore, as a powerful and influential leader in his society, Macbeth exemplifies his noble birth and status as an ideal tragic hero. Furthermore, in Wayne Booth’s article, Shakespeare's Tragic Villain, he describes Macbeth as a good man who committed an awful deed, supporting his persona as a mixed character. Macbeth, although knowing very well Duncan is dead by his own doing, wishes that the King could be woken up from his eternal slumber. These are the thoughts and feelings of a good man who committed a deed that would characterize him as evil (Booth). Macbeth’s ambition overpowers his conscious decision of right from wrong.…show more content…
The future king reveals, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself and falls on th' other” (I.vii.25-28). Thus, Macbeth has no control over his desire for success. He does not want to murder Duncan, however Macbeth’s hunger for power overrides his conscious decision of right from wrong. By killing Duncan, Macbeth is fulfilling his tragic flaw of ambition at the cost of his own happiness and well-being, therefore demonstrating his status as a tragic hero. 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. However, as the play progresses Macbeth transitions into a heartless assassin killing for his own personal gain. This change in character becomes apparent in the savage murders of Macduff’s wife and child. Therefore, in response the audience loses any feeling of
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