Macbeth - A Tragic Hero Essay

708 Words 3 Pages
William Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth tells the story of the rise and fall of its title character. After proving himself in a battle, Macbeth replaces the thane of Cawdor, who has betrayed his country. Unfortunately, his ambition gets the best of him and leads him to usurp the king's throne. As king, he is a paranoid tyrant and his ambition ultimately leads to his death. According to the standards set by Aristotle, Macbeth can be considered a tragic hero. Macbeth has a mixture of good and evil characteristics. Before he even makes his first appearance on stage, the audience already knows that Macbeth is a skilled warrior. He has been victorious in several battles, conquered the Norwegian army, and even captured the traitor …show more content…
Macbeth, wanting to fulfill the rest of the prophecy, decides to kill Duncan. Macbeth's paranoia of being found out leads him to become a murderous tyrant, having anyone he suspects to know too much killed, including his best friend Banquo. Eventually, his evil traits cause an uprising against him. Aristotle also claimed that a tragic hero must have a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall. In the case of Macbeth, this flaw is his arrogance. After asking the witches for more information about his future, Macbeth is told to "laugh and scorn the pow'r of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth" and that "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him" (385). Knowing that these warnings are near impossible, Macbeth is lead to believe that he is invincible. When Macduff's army uses the trees from Birnam Wood as camouflage, Macbeth begins to realize that the witches have mislead him. However, he still believes that no man can harm him and he prepares to fight. His painless triumph over Young Siward reinforces his attitude. When confronted by Macduff, whose entire family he has killed, Macbeth arrogantly assumes that he can't be defeated, since he has been told that no man born of a woman can harm him. Unfortunately, Macduff technically wasn't born, but ripped from his mother's womb. Macbeth's overconfidence leads to his death. Finally, A tragic hero also usually has a hubris surrounding him that

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