Josh Foreman Friday, November 21st, 2008
When Tragedy Strikes
Ambition, rashness, acting without an impulse; these are the classically defined characteristics that describe the traditional Shakespearean tragic hero. In William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, the stories main character Macbeth is the perfect example for portraying these unrewarding qualities in being a tragic hero. This specific character, just like any tragic hero starts off on a positive, affirmative level but slowly, once their tragic flaws catch up with them, start to diminish and break down into something so low that they can not control it. Macbeth in comparison to that starts off as a loyal person, who is considerate and noble for his country of Scotland, but in time begins to dwindle down as his flaws start to haunt him. Macbeth is established as a tragic hero shown in his ambitious tragic flaw, his sacrificial death at a significant moment, and the regeneration and renewal after his death.
In order for someone to become a certified tragic hero they need to possess a tragic flaw. These flaws come from a characters error in judgment brought forth from a rash and greedy attitude which leads to a certain over-confidence and pride in their actions. Macbeth’s main tragic flaw is his ambition. His over-ambitious nature leads him to make quick and poor decisions, simply because he wanted something so bad, and that was to become king. He was not going to let anything or anyone get in his way. When Macbeth first hears the witches’ prophecies stating that he would become the Thane of Cawdor, and that he possibly could become King in the future, his ambition starts to begin. Prophecy, in any “spirit” or interpretation does not lie, but can be deceiving and must be approached with careful thought. Macbeth, due to his ambition, does not take the time to understand the true meaning of the prophecy carefully, and approaches it without caution. That fatal flaw was the upbringing of his “destruction”. The ambition leads Macbeth to a single mindedness attitude and insinuates his ideas to confusion and uncertainty. His main concern after hearing the prophecies and consulting with his wife is to kill Duncan, so he will get the chance to take his spot as the next king. The weakness in his character is that he will go to extreme measures like this to accommodate his ambition. After brutally killing Duncan and eventually becoming king, Macbeth then uses his power along the way to also kill Macduff’s family, the two murderers and even his close friend Banquo after his son Fleance had escaped;
Since the name of this play is Macbeth, most people wouldnt think of anyone but Macbeth being a tragic hero in this story. However, if the character of Lady Macbeth is examined we see that she is a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a protagonist, usually of high estate and neither entirely good nor bad. He is perfect except for a Hamartia (flaw), which is the significant factor leading to his ...
So he is mine, and in such bloody distance that every minute of his being thrusts against my near’st of life; and though I could with barefac’d power sweep him from my sight and bid my will avouch it, yet I must not, for certain friends that are both his and mine, whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall who I myself struck down… It is concluded. Banquo, thy souls flight, if it find heaven, must find it out tonight (III. i. 118-125, 143-144).
The craziness and recklessness of Macbeth’s ambition had even forced him to kill someone who he abided as a friend and fought along side in the war against England, not so long ago. His mind had gone out of control, which made him make some dreadfully poor decisions.
Macbeth’s character, from the beginning of the play and towards the end of the play has seen his attitude change from noble and sympathetic to nasty and wicked. From that, it seems that his eventual death was plausibly appropriate. Macbeth did ultimately deserve to die considering all of the horrible deeds he committed, and died at a significant moment of the play. His death also brought the quality of sacrifice. Macbeth as the tragic hero was fittingly sacrificed at the end of the play because it was needed to make right the evil arising out of his ambitious tragic flaw. One of the prophecies that the witches told Macbeth was that no one born naturally out of a women could harm him. In the final scene when he is about to square off against Macduff, he immediately refers to that prophecy as he thinks Macduff is a natural born and is of no danger to him. But when Macbeth mentions that to him as they are about to fight, Macduff boasts that he is not a natural born but was actually cut out of his mothers womb before he could be declared natural. He was lured into a false sense of security by the witches as he brought in this arrogance that nothing could “touch him”. His tragic flaw of ambition caused him to rely on the prophecies too much and in the end came back to bite him. Right then and there, when he hears that from Macduff, he realizes that the security blanket he had been wearing is now gone and useless, and that winning the battle is highly unlikely. He knows that sacrificing himself now is the only option as a solution to wipe out all of the evil that he has brought forth. Although he has all this going against him and is hanging by this loose thread, he still tries to put up a reasonable fight;
... play "Macbeth" this quality of a tragic hero is portrayed though the character Macbeth. The quality of a tragic hero in Macbeth ... times by the Thane of Fife, Macduff. Furthermore, he was labeled several strong ... is yet another feature that brings forth Macbeth's potential. Despite Macbeth's great potential he endures an ... away from death. He was killed fighting. Tragedy fell only upon Macbeth because of ...
I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet and to be baited with the rabbles curse. Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane and thou oppos’d being of no women born, yet I will try the last. Before my body, I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, and damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’ (V. viii. 28-34).
This last ounce of fuel left in Macbeth, in a way, shows a tragic hero side of him in not wanting to give up. At the same time he realizes that he has made some terrible mistakes and has done some truly horrible things. In the end he deserved to die and put himself in a position to be sacrificed.
Macbeth the Tragic hero'I go, and it is done; the bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it knell that summons thee to heaven, or to hell.' This is a quote from Shakespeare's play Macbeth. The quote symbolizes Macbeth turning to the dark side. Macbeth is a historically based play. James I is placed into the play with his distant relationship with Bangui. Macbeth is a tragedy in which human ...
Macbeth’s death at the end of the play was not just simply the killing of a main character; it had brought a deeper meaning, in conveying a form of relief for the people of Scotland. Macbeth had used the power in his position to do many terrible things, and had transformed the country of Scotland into chaos; “His message ere he come, that a swift blessing may soon return to this our suffering country under a hand accurs’d” (Lennox. III. vi. 48-50).
All of the killings that he committed turned the city into ruins and showed how poorly he had used his unfair power. With that, it seemed as though a regeneration and renewal was formed after his death. A shared sense of order was restored for the country and everybody in the end, seemed happy. It really proves the impact in how the death of this tragic hero would lay a huge affect on people. The new and rightful King, Malcolm, is then named, and it is assumed that very quickly the evil will be washed away. It makes sense that after this regeneration, the actual heir to the throne would make a huge difference instead of Macbeth who brought in all the wrong things. It demonstrates how much affect a change in power and a change of King could bring to the attitudes of its citizens. Macbeth was tragically passed on and finally order was restored.
All in all, it is evident to recognize the many characteristics that make Macbeth a Shakespearean tragic hero. His tumble from extreme loyalty down towards betrayal showed how much his character had changed over time. The witches’ prophecies were the main ignition that led him towards expressing his massive ambitious flaw, along with his sacrificial death, and the regeneration and rebirth after his death. Macbeth was greatly affected and was hit hard when tragedy struck.