Tragic Flaw In Macbeth

1448 Words 6 Pages
Conner DeVilder
English 101/102
Mrs Carmichael

Macbeth: Tragically Flawed with Latent Ambition

The Greek philosopher Aristotle would label Shakespeare’s character Macbeth a tragic hero. Aristotle characterized a tragic hero as a man of importance with a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall. “The hero should neither be a villain nor a wicked person for his fall, otherwise his death would please and satisfy our moral sense without generation the feelings of pity, compassion and fear. Therefore, the ideal tragic hero should be basically a good man with a minor flaw or tragic trait in his character” (The Tragic Hero - Literary Theory and Criticism). Shakespeare begins his play of Macbeth by introducing us to a man of courage and strength,
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Without his blinding ambition, Macbeth may have been strong against Lady Macbeth’s murder proposal. Instead, he gave in and the downward spiral of his life begins. After killing the king, it is Macbeth who then murders the chamberlains and hires a group of murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. After Fleance escapes, Macbeth is racked with worry. “Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect whole as the marble, founded as the rock as broad and general as the casing air: But now I am cabin 'd, cribb 'd, confined, bound in to saucy doubts and fears” (Mac III.iv.22-26). When Macbeth envisions Banquo sitting in his chair, his words alarm his subjects. It is Lady Macbeth who covers for him so he doesn’t appear mentally unstable, telling the guests to, “Sit, worthy friends: my lord is often thus and hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat; The fit is momentary; upon a thought he will again be well” (Mac III.iv.54-57). Macbeth is so worried that he seeks out the witches for direction. Their predictions however, make Macbeth even more worried about MacDuff. Being told he can’t be killed by a man born of a woman makes Macbeth feel somewhat better, but the witches’ words cause him to order the seizure of MacDuff’s castle and the murder of Lady Macduff and her children. In order to keep his kingdom, Macbeth must commit …show more content…
In the plot of a tragedy, Aristotle notes that there needs to be suffering, “Also translated as "a calamity," the third element of plot is "a destructive or painful act" (ARISTOTLE & THE ELEMENTS OF TRAGEDY: English 250). The suffering is part of what makes the tragic hero, tragic. The hero’s evil actions must be atoned for and death is usually the outcome. “Towards the end of the play we find retribution starting to operate to punish the evil-doer, Macbeth. The tyranny of Macbeth arouses Macduff against him, causes Malcolm to assert his legitimate claim to the kingship, and makes the saint like King Edward to take arms against Macbeth” (Islam). On the battlefield, Macbeth is forced to confront his fate. Thinking he was unable to be killed because of the witches’ prophesies, he continues to fight. It is not until MacDuff tells Macbeth that he was not born of a woman, but “untimely ripp’d” from one that Macbeth understands that he is doomed. “Accursed be that tongue that tells me so for it hath cow 'd my better part of man! And be these juggling fiends no more believed, that palter with us in a double sense; that keep the word of promise to our ear, and break it to our hope. I 'll not fight with thee” (Mac V.viii.17-22). The evil that Macbeth has done must be met with the destruction of evil. Shakespeare understands that the only punishment for Macbeth that will satisfy his audience is for Macbeth to

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