Every true Elizabethan Tragedy comes complete with a tragic hero. The tragedy Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, has a perfect example of a tragic hero, otherwise known as Macbeth. A tragic hero must be a man who is great and admirable in various ways. He should be placed in society in such a way that everything he does affects all of the members of his society. A tragic hero should at some point reach the top of Fortune’s Wheel, but land up at the bottom by the end of the tragedy due to the continual change of fate. Macbeth fits the description of being a tragic hero, displaying his strengths, his weaknesses, his tragic flaw, and how influential outside influences are on him.
Macbeth definitely has a number of strengths that are prevalent throughout the entire play. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth seems quite noble. He fights in the battle against Norway, proving his honor (Lowe). Ambition is another one of these strengths. Macbeth is so determined that it enables him to become King of Scotland (Lowe). It facilitates him to be strong, to overcome his hindrances, and to attain goals (Lowe).
Weaknesses are another characteristic of a tragic hero, and Macbeth displays these quite evidently. Although ambition was one of the aforementioned strengths obtained by Macbeth, it is a weakness of his, as well (“Macbeth – Tragic Hero”). In fact, it is such a substantial weakness that it constitutes as Macbeth’s tragic flaw. Being so motivated can cause someone to do horrible things to get their way, as one can see by noting that “ruthless” is a synonym of “ambitious.” Through the course of the play, Macbeth kills several people in order...
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There are many traits that make up a tragic hero, and Macbeth displays each of these. Macbeth definitely completes a cycle in Fortune’s Wheel, starting off as a highly venerable man at the play’s beginning and being the exact opposite by the end. His actions affect everyone in his society. He displays strengths, weaknesses, a tragic flaw, and the fact that he is vulnerable to outside persuasions, thus making him a perfect example of a tragic hero.
Lowe, Lawrence. “Macbeth’s Tragic Flaw.” http://server44.hypermart.net/homeworkdatabase/essays/essay11lit.html (10 January 2005).
“Macbeth – Tragic Hero.” http://www.digitalessays.com/essays/eng_plays/eng_plays_0013.html (10 January 2005).
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar. New York: Washington Square Press, 1959.
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