The Tragic Hero In Macbeth

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The Tragic Hero in Macbeth Humans possess the gift of free will and the ability to make decisions, yet it is the consequence of these choices that determine one’s future. The story of Macbeth by William Shakespeare tells the tale of a virtuous thane’s transformation into a ruthless king. Driven by his lust for power, Macbeth becomes king by means of murder, forcing him down a path of wickedness as his conscience continuously deteriorates. In this story, Macbeth would be considered a tragic hero. A tragic hero is defined as someone once destined for greatness, whose tragic flaw causes a fatal error, that leads them to a moment of realization right before their self inflicted death. Macbeth fulfilled these three criteria and the combination …show more content…
After his glorious victory over the Norwegians, Macbeth was perceived as a character of high importance and noble stature, an admired and honourable individual. He was referred to by King Duncan as “valiant cousin” and “worthy gentleman” (1.2.24), his contributions to Scotland were so great that the “swiftest wing of recompense is slow to overtake thee” (1.4.18-19). Even King Duncan couldn 't repay Macbeth for his valiant and courageous efforts. He made it evident that Macbeth has won favour in his eyes when he told Lady Macbeth that he "loves him (Macbeth) highly" (1.6.29). Duncan only chose to spend a night in Macbeth’s castle because he believed Macbeth to be a trustworthy ally. In addition to that. Macbeth was refereed to by the three witches as “thane of Glamis”, “thane of Cawdor” and “king hereafter” (1.3.50-52). He was climbing up the ranks of nobility, gaining glory, fame and power. Macbeth was admired and respected by many people, including the king. All tragic heroes begin in a position of high authority, success and well-being, which is precisely the characteristics possessed by …show more content…
The realization of one’s own downfall, or as Aristotle once said “A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall." Macbeth felt guilty soon after the murder, confirming that his conscience was still in tact. Confessing to his wife: “I am afraid to think what I have done” (2.2.64), and describing his bloody hands as “a sorry sight.” (2.2.20). Despite his active conscience, Macbeth continued to kill without remorse in order to retain his throne. Following the death of Lady Macbeth, who had gone mad due to guilt, Macbeth states that “life’s but a walking shadow… a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” (5.5.24-28). It seems as though he finally realized that the crown that promised prosperity brought destruction instead. The true moment of anagnorisis took place after Macduff said he was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.” (5.8.15-16). Macbeth finally realized the witches have deceived him, he said “and be these juggling fiends no more believed” (5.8.17-22). He was meant to die by the hands of Macduff, the prophecy was soon to be fulfilled. Before the demise of a tragic hero, a moment of realization must occur. Likewise, Macbeth discovered his true fate moments before his death. Macbeth realized the actual meaning of the prophecy and how his own actions lead to his

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