Macbeth Hamartia Character Analysis

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In the play Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses the Aristotelian definition of a tragic hero as a guideline for the characters and their tragedies. Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero is someone of nobility who has a tragic, fatal flaw. He believed that there are three characteristics of a tragic hero: Hamartia, hubris, and peripeteia. Hamartia is a tragic flaw that causes the downfall of a hero; hubris is excessive pride and disrespect for the natural order of things; peripeteia is the reversal of fate that the hero experiences. In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, he displays all three of the characteristics of a tragic hero. The main character named Macbeth fits the definition of an Aristotelian tragic hero by displaying hamartia, hubris, …show more content…
In act I, many different characters describe Macbeth as brave for his actions in battle and Duncan names Macbeth “Thane of Cawdor.” Soon after this, the three witches come to tell Macbeth his prophecies. The prophecies say: beware Macduff, no one born of a woman can hurt Macbeth, and that Macbeth will be safe until the trees attack the castle. They also tell him that it is his fate to become the king. He believes what they say even though Banquo warns him not to trust them. Macbeth states “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir.” (I, iii, 147-148). He says that if the witches prophecies come true about his future coronation, then he will not interfere with fate. Later on in the play, he contradicts this statement completely. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan in order for Macbeth to become king, and he kills Duncan even though he had many doubts about doing it. By committing this crime, Macbeth shows that his ambition overpowers his thoughts, which is hamartia. He also proves that he is only concerned about the witches’ prophecies, which is hubris. If he did nothing about the prophecies, fate may have come true or he may not have been crowned because the witches might have known that he would kill Duncan to become king. Although, if the witches never told him of his fate, he most likely would not have killed Duncan due to the thought never coming to his

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