Macbeth Character Analysis Essay

Sae Koyama
Ms. Holdsworth
J3 Language Arts
Macbeth Literary Analysis In the play Macbeth, Macduff and Macbeth are portrayed as conflicting characters, although both are referred to as “heroes”. These two men are both qualified to be tragic heroes, when following Aristotle’s six principles regarding the qualities a tragic hero needs. This is because both have a fatal flaw, but ultimately the real tragic hero in Macbeth is Macbeth, as there is no reversal of fortune nor nemesis in Macduff. According to Aristotle’s six principles that make up a tragic hero, one must have a fatal flaw that causes the hero’s downfall. Macbeth’s fatal flaw is his ambition, which encourages him to commit treason against Duncan. “I have no spur/To prick the sides of my intent, but only/Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself/And falls on the other - ” (1.7.25-28). He is agonizing over whether
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Macduff leaves Scotland in order to ask for an army to help beat Macbeth, even though he had no personal motives for doing so – he was doing this purely out of allegiance to his country. It is even possible to say that Macduff embodies devotion, as he takes the theme of loyalty to one’s country to an extreme. As a result, he brings about his family’s death. “Sinful Macduff,/They were all struck for thee” (4.3.227-228). He even believes that it was his own fault that they were killed, and rightly so, because his fleeing the country to go against Macbeth was what led Macbeth to suspect Macduff and murder his family in the first place. Realizing one’s fatal flaw is also necessary to a tragic hero, and this shows that Macduff has hamartia. Despite having a flaw, it doesn’t make sympathizing with Macduff easier; on the contrary, this so-called “flaw” distances him even further from the audience, as this incredible devotion for one’s country is too alien for most people to

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