The Tragic Flaw Of Macbeth By William Shakespeare Essays

The Tragic Flaw Of Macbeth By William Shakespeare Essays

Length: 1293 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Macbeth is among the best examples of a tragic hero to exist in classic literature. Like any other protagonist of an epic, he is a courageous and powerful leader. However, he has one tragic flaw (his ambition) that slowly destroys his life before ending it, effectively bringing about his downfall. Macbeth 's tragic flaw is brought to the surface when he learns of his potential future position as king, and from there it takes control of his actions and judgement. By examining Macbeth 's attitude towards murder throughout the piece, one can trace the different stages of his moral degeneration as he appears to think less and less of the consequences of his actions.
Macbeth is introduced much like any other heroic character that protagonizes a literary epic: he is a man of great personal ability and power. In the second scene of the play, a wounded Captain that fought for King Duncan reports Macbeth 's extraordinary performance in battle: "CAPTAIN: But all’s too weak, / For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name— / Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, / Which smoked with bloody execution, / Like valor’s minion carved out his passage / Till he faced the slave" (Shakespeare 15-20). Even though Macbeth shed much blood on the battlefield, his actions are regarded as commendable because they were made for the sole purpose of defending his country and serving his king. The same could not be said for his violent acts after hearing the three witches ' prophecy,
Once Macbeth hears from the witches that he is destined for the throne, thoughts of regicide immediately flood his mind as he imagines how he might assume his now-promised place on the throne. However, even though he contemplates such thoughts for a time, he ultimately de...

... middle of paper ...

...h: Aeneas also suffered much in "The Aeneid" due to his incessant pursuit of honor and glory, and he did not prevail until he learned to let go of these ambitions. The difference lies in the fact that Macbeth never overcame such pursuit, which ultimately proved to be his downfall.
Whether it be because of overt Macbeth 's desire for manliness or general ambition for power, his character developed from a virtuous and talented hero to a bitter king who thought little of killing others for even the slightest personal gain. Macbeth flawlessly exemplifies the character of a tragic hero by demonstrating the tragedies that one can bring about due to a single but critical flaw in character. His dramatic character development throughout the piece can attest to that, as the tyrant who is struck down in the end is virtually unrecognizable from the hero we meet in the beginning.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Beowulf And Macbeth As A Tragic Hero

- A tragic hero is defined as a protagonist of a tragedy with specific characteristics. Usually, tragic heroes are able to evoke pity or fear from an audience, and can be relatable to ordinary people. For example, in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is pitied because she is split apart from Romeo because of family ties, and she is also relatable because she displays human characteristics such as sadness and love. Secondly, tragic heroes have some type of goodness and have great stature. However, despite all these positive attributes, a tragic hero usually has a flaw of error, excessive pride, and a major reversal of fortune....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, William Shakespeare, Beowulf]

Better Essays
1881 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on The Tragic Hero Of Macbeth By William Shakespeare

- Macbeth Essay In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Macbeth was presented as a dynamic tragic hero through several different ways. The methods Shakespeare used to portray Macbeth in this manner was through Macbeths history; including his social stature derived from battle, the representation of greed and power he sought out, and by his mental deterioration over time. Macbeth’s own demise was cultivated by the power he wished to obtain, and that ultimately brought him down....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, William Shakespeare]

Better Essays
890 words (2.5 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Macbeth As Tragic Hero Essay

- The great Aristotle, created the term ‘tragic hero’, defining exemplary characters like Hamlet, Oipedus the King, and my personal favorite, Macbeth. The term, simply means, a character with the qualities of noble, and high-standing, but has flaws eventually leads to a tragedy. Macbeth is like any other human, with morals, goals, and of course, bad human qualities. William Shakespeare conveys Macbeth as tragic hero when he is represented as noble, brave soldier, but falls to the manipulation of his wife and the witches, making ambition and over confidence his tragic flaws....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, William Shakespeare]

Better Essays
1101 words (3.1 pages)

The Tragic Hero Of Macbeth By William Shakespeare Essay

- “Power is poison,” Henry Adams once said. One who is capable of too much power may be harmed like poison. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth, the Thane of Cawdor, instantaneously wants to become king after being confronted by three witches with a peek into his future. From this moment, Macbeth is poisoned by knowing just how much power he is capable of having. He cedes his wife, his friends, and most importantly his honor. Macbeth is expressed as a tragic hero through his tragic flaw of ambition....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, Three Witches, Macbeth]

Better Essays
1106 words (3.2 pages)

Macbeth Tragic Hero Essay

- According to Webster’s dictionary, the term hero is defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. The perfect example is displayed in one of Shakespeare’s many, yet popular, works entitled “Macbeth”. There are an assembly of factors that contribute to Macbeth being labelled as a tragic hero. Before these factors are discussed, it is extremely important to understand what means make up the characteristics of a tragic hero. Typically, it is a figure of high stature with a noble background....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, William Shakespeare, Macbeth]

Better Essays
794 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on The Tragic Heroes Of Shakespeare 's Macbeth

- Shakespeare’s most enthralling characters are his great tragic heroes, who are motivated by forces of darkness internally and externally. The tragic protagonist experiences extreme emotions of both love and hate, leading to extreme actions. These feelings can be considered forces of darkness, which drive their actions to a great extent. An integral aspect of Shakespearean tragedy is the tragic hero’s fall from grace, which is often portrayed as an effect of a malicious fortune or fate. Nevertheless, this is due to a flaw in the character, which also makes them great....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, William Shakespeare]

Better Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Macbeth Tragic Hero Research Paper

- A tragic hero is someone born into a noble lifestyle, destined for greatness, but is tested by fate through great destruction and suffering. In the book Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, this concept is well demonstrated in the main characters uprising. When Macbeth chooses the wrong path, he is led by his ambition to his destruction. The presence of an active flaw, the struggle to eliminate it when too late and the path to demise it created are all reasons Macbeth’s story is tragic. As a result, Macbeth’s tragic flaw of ambition led him to become a tragic hero....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, Murder, William Shakespeare]

Better Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- “So foul and fair a day I have not seen”( 1.3.40). In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis who comes across three witches upon leaving a battlefield who prophesize that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and King of all. As his ambition grows, along with the aid of several outside forces including his wife and the witches, he kills his king which sets him on a path from which there is no return. The witches also prophesied that his friend, Banquo, will have children who become kings....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Tragic hero]

Better Essays
1027 words (2.9 pages)

Macbeth Tragic Fall Essay

- In the play Macbeth, there are many different themes that are seen throughout the play. Tragic Hero is one of the most important themes because, it covers the topics of noble birth, tragic flaw, and the realization that tragic flaw caused tragic fall. These three topics demonstrate that, Macbeth is in a high position from his noble background, he has flaws in his personality, and he has had a huge downfall because of his tragic flaw which led to the event of having his life taken away from him because of it....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Macbeth]

Better Essays
1157 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare's Macbeth - Lady Macbeth and the Tragic Flaw Are to Blame

- Lady Macbeth and the Tragic Flaw Are to Blame       "...Go pronounce his present death,/ And with his former title greet Macbeth."  (Act 1, Scene 2, 64-65)     Though the word "death" in this sentence refers to the former thane of Cawdor's demise, Shakespeare uses the clever trick of foreshadowing Macbeth's downfall by coupling the word "death" with the word "Macbeth" so early in the tragedy.  The quote has another importance  it introduces the ideas of treachery and personal gain from less-than-legitimate means, two characteristics Macbeth picks up on as the story advances.  We are introduced to Macbeth as a hero, a slayer of the Norweyans, even "Bellona's bridegroom, lapped in proof" (A...   [tags: Macbeth essays]

Better Essays
811 words (2.3 pages)