The Tragic Flaws of Macbeth

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Shakespeare does a magnificent job by using Macbeth to show the terrible consequences that can result from an unchecked ambition and a guilty conscience. Those elements, combined with a lack of strong character, distinguish Macbeth from Shakespeare's other tragic heroes, such as King Lear and Richard III, both of whom are strong enough to overcome their guilty conscience. Before Macbeth murders Duncan, he is plagued with anxiety and almost does not go along with the plan. It takes his wife, Lady Macbeth's persuasion in order to complete the plot. When is about to kill Duncan, Macbeth sees a dagger covered in blood floating in the air, representing the bloody course he is about to take. After Duncan is murdered, however, her power-hungry personality begins to fade and Macbeth becomes more and more bloodthirsty. He fluctuates between moments of fervent killing and times of extreme guilt, as shown when Banquo's ghost appears to him during a dinner party. Macbeth speaks to the apparition, who is invisible to the rest of the guests. The ghost disappears soon after Lady Macbeth asks Macbeth to snap out of his trance. As he offers a toast to the company however, Banquo's ghost reappears and shocks Macbeth. Soon afterwards, the ghost vanishes and Macbeth is relieved: "Why, so; being gone, I am a man again. (III. iv. 107-108)" This encounter pierces his conscience and becomes a gruesome reminder that he murdered his former friend. Both instances of hallucinations are uncanny signs of Macbeth's

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