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Macbeth as a Tragic Hero

  • Date Submitted: 08/11/2010 03:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49 
  • Words: 386
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• We could define a tragic hero as a person who is predominately good, but falls from prominence due to personality flaws. Due to their flaws, a tragic hero’s actions are typically horrific in some way, and cause them to battle with their conscience after their desires have been accomplished. These battles are usually presented as soliloquies, where their conscience evokes empathy from the audience.
• Macbeth is the epitome of a tragic hero. His major flaws are his ambition and impressionability.
• By nature, they initially have good intentions and are usually characterised by having virtuous qualities. At the beginning of the play, he emerges as a character who boasts loyalty, courage and honour.   This factor is proven effectively at the beginning of the play, where he is praised considerably for his bravery on the battlefield. In Act 1, Scene 2 the sergeant says, “For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel.” He success at war also demonstrates Macbeth’s loyalty to his King. His chivalry leads to his appointment of Thane of Cawdor. Yet it is from the beginning that the strength of Macbeth’s ambition becomes a flaw in his character; in that it leads to his obsessive nature in striving for the throne. Although it is not natural for him to commit evil deeds, we learn that his ambition for power and advancement influences him. Although other characters do influence him to follow such ambition, like Lady Macbeth, it is he who is responsible for his own downfall.
• Another arguable flaw of Macbeth is his tendency to succumb to the influence of others, instead of upholding his opinion and morals. This can be viewed as a flaw, which therefore justifies why he is in fact a tragic hero.   The most significant example of this is when he has second thoughts about murdering Duncan, and Lady Macbeth quite brutally persuades him into continuing the deed by mocking him.
• In addition, although Macbeth murders innocent people,...

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