Macbeth: a True Tragic Hero

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Macbeth clearly fits the archetype of tragic hero. Firstly, a tragic hero is a person born of nobility, who is admired by the public but has a flaw which causes his downfall. In Macbeth’s case his flaw is ambition which leads to his downfall. Macbeth, having been born of nobility, begins the play as a general in the army, and Thane of Glamis. He is admired by the public, “For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name...”. as well as his wife, Lady Macbeth who convinces him to kill in order to achieve his goal of becoming king. When the witches tell Macbeth that he will become king, he becomes obsessed with gaining power. He will stop at nothing, not even the murder of the current king, on his road to becoming king. Like all tragic heroes Macbeth demonstrates he is doomed to make errors in judgment when he allows Lady Macbeth to convince him to commit murder in order to gain the crown. In addition we know that at the beginning Macbeth is good. He was rewarded the respected title Thane of Cawdor after the execution of the previous Thane. It is easy to identify with Macbeth as he is pushed by Lady Macbeth to commit the murders and faces the external and internal conflicts typical of a tragic hero. Another aspect of the tragic hero is that they are responsible for their own fate. Macbeth is certainly responsible for his fate. He chooses to commit the murders and take the crown although it is not rightfully his. However, like all tragic heroes the fact that he has committed murders does not make the reader totally despise him. He is seen, in part, as a victim of Lady Macbeth’s ambitions. Another characteristic of the tragic hero is Macbeth’s guilt. At the end of Act 2 Macbeth greatly regrets the murder of King Duncan. “Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!” This shows that Macbeth has a conscience which is typical of a tragic hero, as it is usual that the
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