The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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Macbeth is the leading character of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, in which he struggles to deal with the consequences of his actions. Is he a Tragic Hero? His brutal actions make it very questionable, but yes, Macbeth is a Hero in his own Tragedy.

There are positive connotations to being a tragic hero, the first being that in order to be one, the character must have one of the starring roles. It is obvious that Macbeth has a leading part in the play, since not only does it revolve around him, but also that his name is in the title.

“There to meet with Macbeth” (Shakespeare, I.i.8)

He is the topic of conversation between the three witches in the first scene, so the audience is aware that he is the protagonist of this tragedy. The fact that the play opens without him, but still features him in a conversation clearly states his importance. Secondly, it is initially known that Macbeth is a good, hardworking person since when he is introduced in the first Act, and is spoken about in two different scenes before actually even being present. In Scene II it is said that he is now Thane of Cawdor, an impressive title.

“For brave Macbeth. (well he deserves that Name)”, (I.ii.16)

He spoken very highly of, and the first adjective used to describe him informs the audience that he is a courageous and likeable character. The third positive characteristic to being a tragic hero, is that the protagonist must be admirable, since heroes are looked up to as a beacon of hope, and are depended on to make the rights choices. “Macbeth’s excessive ambition motivates him” (Principal Topics, 238). Despite his ambition motivating him to kill King Duncan, he still has ambitions nonetheless, which is an admirable trait that a tragic hero must pos...

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... Macbeth was manipulated and he suffered a great deal in between. His death leaves the audience wondering what could have been, and if he had anything else worth living for.

To conclude, Macbeth does in fact qualify as a Tragic Hero. He starts off as a very respectable and admirable protagonist, also with very relatable human characteristics. However he possesses a good amount of self-confidence, which is knocked down by his downfall. Macbeth goes through an insane amount of suffering, like the loss of his wife and the inevitable downfall that is his death. Despite all of his flaws and mistakes he has made, Macbeth still manages to make the audience experience a catharsis. All of which is crucial to being a Tragic Hero.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William, and John Crowther. No Fear Shakespeare: Macbeth. ed. New York: Spark Publishing, 2003. Print.
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