In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth is a classic example of a tragic hero who is constantly struggling with his fate. In the opening scene of the play Macbeth receives a prophecy from three witches. They proclaim that he will be the thane of Cawdor. He responds by saying, “By Sinel’s death I know that I am thane of Glamis/ but how of Cawdor”(I, iii, 70-73)? At first, he does not realize to earn this title what he must do, but when he realizes he is taken aback. His bewilderment prefigures his perpetual struggle with his fate. Macbeth also is excessively ambitious which constantly affects him throughout the play. He is too determined to become king and will kill anyone to ensure that this will transpire. Macbeth’s struggle and ambition make him the quintessence of tragic hero.
Throughout the play Macbeth allows his pride to interfere with his judgment and succumbs to the witches’ prophecy, leading to his tragic downfall. “Macbeth orders a slaughter of innocents in a vain and futile attempt to preserve kingships threatened by prophecies” (Hassel). He murders King Duncan, his good friend, in order to secure his fate as king. Although Macbeth knows the difference between right and wrong, he is a victim of his tragic flaw: his ambition. His tragic flaw repeatedly leads him to deceit and murder.
“Macbeth of a generous disposition, and good propensities, but with vehement passions and aspiring wishes, was a subject liable to be seduced by splendid prospects, and ambitious counsels” (Montagu). Lady Macbeth intensifies Macbeth’s ambition by denigrating him and insulting his manhood. Lady Macbeth berates him by saying, “What beast was ‘t then/ that made you break this enterprise to me? / When you durst do it, then you were a man;/...
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Hassel Jr., R. Chris. ““ No boasting like a fool”? Macbeth and Herod.” Bloom’s Literature.
Facts On File, Inc. Web. 7 Jan. 2014
Montagu, Elizabeth. “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Bloom’s Literature, Facts on File, Inc. Web. 4
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices,
Timeless Themes; The British Tradition. Kate Kinsella. Upper Saddle River: Pearson
Education, 2005. 300-388. Print.
Thrasher, Thomas. Understanding Macbeth. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2002. 77. Pri
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