Macbeth: A Tragic Hero

Macbeth: A Tragic Hero

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Tragic heroes, who destined for a serious downfall, are the protagonist of a dramatic tragedy. A tragic hero is usually a great hero, who gets the most respect from other people; on the other hand, a tragic hero can also lose everything he gained because of his mistakes. His downfall is the result of a wrong judgment, a flaw which might combined with fated and external forces. The downfall can cause the tragic hero to suffer for the rest of his life. In many literary works, the downfall of the tragic heroes usually happen in their highest point. In the same way, Macbeth is a tragic hero in the play called “The Tragedy of Macbeth” which is written by a legendary writer, William Shakespeares. Macbeth is a great general who gained many respect from the people and even the king. In the highest point of his life, because of seeking for greater power, it created Macbeth’s downfall. Macbeth, a tragic hero, causes suffering for himself and others by committing murders and creating distress, which are the negative effects of seeking for a greater power.
Seeking for greater power, Macbeth murders Duncan who is the king at that time, which caused a great pain for the kingdom. Duncan is a great king, but just not a so good human reader. He has never been aware of Macbeth. He never have a thought that Macbeth might be a danger, who is willing to kill him for the throne. On the other hand, Macbeth does not accept to be just a general for the rest of his life. He wants a greater power, higher position than he is having at the time. Because of the suggests from the trio witches: “ All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!/ All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!”(1.2.49-50), Macbeth has the thinking about killing the king to take his throne. By calling Macbeth the Thane of Cawdor, they give Macbeth the thought that being a king is his fate. On the night Macbeth is planning to murder Duncan, the Old Man see many strange events: “And Duncan’s horses (a thing most strange and certain),/ Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, /Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out/ Contending ‘gainst obedience, as they would/ Make war with mankind” (2.4.14-18). It creates a scary feeling in the kingdom, and means something bad will happen to the kingdom.

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The death of the current king can cause the people to revolt at the government. Because of taking the power for himself, Macbeth murdered a great king. It causes the suffering from the people in the kingdom. Macbeth is being selfish. He does not care how the kingdom will be if Duncan died. He just want to kill the king so he can take the throne so he can have the highest position in the kingdom.
Because of worrying that Banquo’s descendants will take over the throne like what the witches said before, Macbeth decides to murder Banquo and also his descendant to protect Macbeth’s throne. Macbeth has betrayed Duncan; for the result, he afraids Banquo will betray him soon. “No son of mine succeeding.If’t be so,/ For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind; for them the gracious Duncan have I murdered,/ Put rancors in the vessel of my eternal jewel/ Given to the common of man/ To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings/ Rather than so, come fate into the list” (3.1.64-70). Banquo was Macbeth’s good friend. Because Macbeth does not have any child to be the heir of his throne; therefore, he afraid that Banquo’s children will be the heir of the throne when Macbeth died just like what the witch sisters said. After killing Banquo, Macbeth also killed Flance, who is Banquo’s descendant, who is the one will take Macbeth’s throne from him. Macbeth said: “ And champion me to th’ utterance,” (3.1.71), he want to keep the throne for himself. Again, Macbeth is being selfish. He does not care what will happen if there will be no heir for the throne after he died to the kingdom. Macbeth’s selfishness, create the suffer for his close friend and also later the kingdom’s civilians.
Worrying to be reveal as a criminal from all the crimes he did to Duncan and Banquo, Macbeth tries to stop the thought of Macduff about Macbeth is evil. “Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word Macduff is fled to England” (4.1.141-142), Macbeth hears that macduff is going to England. Worry that Macduff know all his crimes and will betray him, “Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits./ The flighty purpose never is o'ertook/ Unless the deed go with it.../ The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword/ His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls” (4.1.144-152), everyone in Macduff’s castle will all put to death by Macbeth. Macbeth kills all Macduff’s family to make sure his secret will stop there and never can go anything other than hell. Macbeth kills Macduff’s descendant to make sure there will be no harm to his throne later on. To cover of being seen as a criminal, Macbeth commits murder to more innocent people that he think might be a harm to his throne. It makes him even a worst criminal than at the first place.
Lady Macbeth has psychology meltdown because of all the violent actions Macbeth did to reach his goal. Macbeth is blindly seeking for power that he does not see what has he done to his dear wife. Indirectly, Lady Macbeth feels guilty because of her husband’s craziness about seeking for power. “ As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies/ That keep her from her rest,” (5.4.38-39), Lady Macbeth could not get a good rest because of all the stress she get from all the violent actions of her husband. While sleeping, Lady Macbeth has sleepwalking. “What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that,” (5.1.34-36), she cannot forget the bloody hand that she got from trying to help Macbeth to frame Duncan’s sleeping servants for the king murder. “here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand,” (5.1.4041) said Lady Macbeth. Trying to hide the crime that Macbeth commits, he gives his wife a scare, a stress that she never can forget. He makes his wife become a criminal just like he is. To help her husband reach his goal, Lady Macbeth has to pay a big price which she never has a peaceful life the rest of her life time. For the result of all the suffering, Lady Macbeth decides to commit suicide to rescue her from her stressful life which created by her husband’s ambition.
To fulfill Macbeth’s ambition, everything he does to hide his crimes is the instruments to the suffers of others. Shakespeare shows the viewer how evil a human can be to get what they want in life. The strategy of Macbeth is because of his ambition of power. Macbeth murders Duncan to take his throne, and gets the most powerful position in the kingdom. After commit the crime, Macbeth can never feel stress about someone might find out about it and take his throne away from him. That is the reason he commits more crimes to cover his first crime. He does not think of the consequences of his action at the first place. He just keep going to cover his first mistake, but he does not know it just make everything worse. For the result of all the violent actions, he turns his lovely wife insane because she can not handle the stress that Macbeth is putting on her shoulders. Similar to Macbeth, Hamlet also suffers because of power. Claudiu, Hamlet’s uncle, killed the king who is also his brother to take the throne. Claudiu caused his nephew, and his wife suffering because of what he did to his own brother. Claudiu has the idea that Hamlet know his murder act on his brother from the play Hamlet is showing him. To keeping the throne, Claudiu sends Hamlet to England where he will be kill. On the other hand,while trying to kill Hamlet, he also accidently killed the queen which is his wife. The actions of killing others to protect the throne is the theme of Shakespeare in those two works. Tragic heroes in those two works not only lose everything they had because of their mistakes; on the other hand, the downfalls of them also cause struggle, suffer for others, their own family.


Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. “Macbeth.” Holt McDougal Literature—British. Ed. Janet Allen.
Evanston, IL: Holt, 2010. 144-166.
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