A tragic hero is one of noble stature, and is good. Macbeth is known as the Thane of Cawdor. He receives this honor because he has just returned from a military success that has covered him in glory. Macbeth can be considered “good” at the start of the work. He is good, although he is not perfect. He has a good heart and is in a keen state of mind before he hears the witches’ prophecy. Macbeth does not begin to become evil until he is convinced to act on the prophecy by Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is the evil one who poisons Macbeth’s mind; although, she is only encouraging her husband to do what she feels is in his best interest.
The hero’s downfall is his own fault, the result of his own free choice, not the result of an accident or fate. An accident and/or fate may be a contributing factor in the hero’s downfall, but are not alone responsible. Macbeth’s downfall is entirely his fault. He chose to listen to the witches’ prophecy. Banquo heard the same prophecy, but chose not to allow himself to be duped. Macbeth could have done the same thing. He, instead, chose to accept the prophecy and act upon it. Macbeth spends most of the play in moral indecision. Lady Macbeth encourages him, but it is he that chooses his actions.
A tragic hero’s misfortune is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime. Macbeth does not totally deserve to die as a result of these incidents. He begins the work as a good man, but later declines because of the desires of his wife, and bad choices. Macbeth does not want to kill anyone, but does it. He is a person of greatness, but is also of weakness. In the beginning he is “better than ourselves.” Macbeth’s death may not be considered a total loss because knowledge is gained before he dies. Aristotle says that there is some “discovery”, a change from ignorance to knowledge.
In conclusion, Macbeth can be described as “tragic hero” because he possesses the characteristics that are required by Aristotle. Macbeth is of nobility, is good, though not perfect, experiences a downfall that is his own fault, has a misfortune that is not wholly deserved, and receives a punishment that exceeds the crime.
Is Macbeth A Tragic Hero Or A Tyrant? Essay
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Is Macbeth A Tragic Hero Or A Tyrant?
Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's most emotive plays, is set in Scotland during the 11th Century and follows the downfall of a man who is led by temptation to mass murder and cruelty. Macbeth, at different stages in the play, demonstrates many of the characteristics of both an evil tyrant and a tragic hero. However, a tragic hero is defined as a great man who falls because of a fatal flaw and Macbeth bests fits this description. Therefore Macbeth fits the role of a tragic hero and not a tyrant.
In Aristotle's "Poeticus", an ancient Greek drama, the definition of a tragic hero includes several criteria. Firstly, the character must be important and his actions…show more content…
As well, his actions have so far affected many people, as he has saved Scotland from invasion and played a large part in a battle (another criteria of a tragic hero).
The other characteristic of a tragic hero is a flaw in the character. In Macbeth's case, it is his unnaturally large sense of ambition and pride, his imagination and insecurity as a man that contributes to his demise. His unnaturally large amount of ambition is even acknowledged by Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 7. "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself and falls on th'other..". This refers to Macbeth's motivation to kill Duncan. Macbeth's ambition is the central driving force for almost all of his actions in the play, and it is the witches who play on this ambition.
Macbeth's insecurity as man is another one of his character faults. Macbeth can "prove" his manliness on the battlefield easily, however Lady Macbeth's knowledge of Macbeth's lack in manliness in other areas allows her to easily manipulate Macbeth to kill the king. In Act 1 Scene 7 after Macbeth makes the tentative decision not to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth's manhood by stating, "When you durst do it, then you were a man". Lady Macbeth also offers another taunt in Act 3 Scene 4 after Macbeth's 'sight' of Banquo's ghost by asking "Are you a man?" to call for