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How is Macbeth a tragic hero?

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divakeema | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted May 29, 2007 at 9:34 AM via web

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How is Macbeth a tragic hero?

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gwendaward | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted July 15, 2011 at 1:34 AM (Answer #16)

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Two words must be defined first:  tragic and hero. Traditionally, a tragic hero is one of high birth who possesses a flaw in character that brings about his own downfall.  This is true of Macbeth.   First, how is Macbeth a hero?  Macbeth is clearly a hero because at the very beginning in Act I, we hear from other characters how heroically Macbeth performed in battle in defense of his king's land.  Against seemingly hopeless odds, Macbeth fights valiantly and defeats the enemy.  Macbeth is praised for his courage in battle, which sets him up in hope of having the crown.  We hear again in Act I from the king how much he appreciates Macbeth.  So, we can surmise that Macbeth is a hero, long before he makes his entrance onto the stage.

How is he tragic?  For the audience to recognize the tragic hero, it has to care about what happens to the character, and we do care about what happens to Macbeth.  Now one must ask, what is Macbeth's tragic flaw?  He surely is ambitious.  He says so himself.  Almost immediately after hearing the witches' prophesy, he comtemplates the king's demise.  He is transfixed.  Banquo draws attention to it.  Yet, Macbeth attempts to brush off his reason for delay by lying.  Now we note he is also a liar.  So we notice Macbeth is both ambitious --not so bad--and a liar--not so good.

By the end of Act I, we see Macbeth in a tug of war with his conscience.  He wants to be king.  To be king he has to kill the current king, but he doesn't want the consequences.  Therefore, rightfully so, he decides against the murder.   We now must realize Macbeth is also smart--he weighs all the consequenes of an act before acting-- as well as ethical-- he will not kill the king, a guest in his house, a good man, and his kin.

If Macbeth were truly the man of character we see in Act I, then our play would end here.  We would have no tragic figure, just a man who knows right from wrong, who knows how to weigh the consequences of life's choices, and who has the wisdom and restraint to reel in his ambitious drives.  But no, Evil waits patiently in the wings as Good takes her bow. Perhaps Shakespeare wanted to show that man is in conflict with himself against the force of evil in his own soul and that Evil has many faces.

One can debate whether or not Shakespeare intended the witches or Lady Macbeth to be the evil influences over Macbeth's actions or Macbeth himself.  Either way, we must acknowledge that the smart, ambitious, valiant Macbeth possesses the strength of character NOT to murder his king.  So why does he? To please his wife?  To not appear weak?  To take what the witches declared his?  To satisfy his ambition?  To succumb to dark forces within?  Knowing full well the consequences and being in control of his faculties, Macbeth chooses to perform an act that will propel him beyond redemption, and he knows it.

The rest of the story is but an unraveling.  The audience continues to recognize Macbeth's heroic side when he tries to keep Lady Macbeth innocent of his murderous slide, or he speaks tenderly of her when she herself unravels at the magnitude of their deteriorating relationship, and finally when he bravely faces what he recognizes as his last stand.  Yet we also recognize his tragic side as he cannot undo what's been done.  There is no redemption for Macbeth and that is tragic indeed.

 

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jalden | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 5, 2013 at 2:52 AM (Reply #1)

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This is a fabulous answer. Completely agree and could not possibly have said it better.

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girlygrrlash | TA , Undergraduate | Honors

Posted December 7, 2013 at 6:57 PM (Reply #2)

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Brilliantly answered! To briefly add to this: 

Macbeth is often described as a tragic hero. Contributing to this is:

the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth's influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed greatly to his degeneration of character which resulted to his downfall...death. Therefore Macbeth character displays strong signs of a tragic hero, making him the ideal classic example. 

Sources:

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gurden | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted August 26, 2011 at 2:02 AM (Answer #22)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero and the beginning praise by Duncan about his military skills proves it. Also, in regard to the witches, they merely predict what will happen, but never are we given the impression that the witches have actually INFLUENCED Macbeth to do anything. So yes, the methods and ideas are from his own mind, but what do we see throughout Macbeth?

We see a man, once noble and honorable, praised by the king, a cousin of him as well, suddenly sell his humanity to ambition. 

...I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other.


He knows what he's doing and he's in full control, but we see the struggle in his eloquent poetry. We see the conflict between his moral self and his ambition. Ambition wins out, and Macbeth embraces immorality. 

Once he gets what he wants, the crown, he realizes he is not happy. He can't trust anyone, and no one will trust him. His wife is mad, and a lot of people are...well, dead. This is his reversal of fortune. 

Macbeth soon loses his vigor in the speech in Act V Scene V. (too lazy to quote it. *sweatdrop*) where he speaks of how futile Life is.

Macbeth is a tragic hero through and through. However his actions cause resentment amongst the audience, so instead of feeling sorrow at his demise as we would for Othello, Hamlet, or King Lear, we feel relief that such a tyrant is dead. But in truth, there was a story, there was a human inside this tyrant. He is literary proof as to the dangers of ambition. 

That's a tragedy. __________________


"Life's but a walking shadow
A poor player 
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more;it is a tale
Told by an idiot
Full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."

- Macbeth
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cutiepie29 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted June 7, 2011 at 9:10 PM (Answer #10)

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Macbeth fought honorably for Duncan against the invading forces at the beginning of Act I. He is noted for his bravery on the battlefield which is why Duncan makes him Thane of Cawdor. His tragic flaw is that he allows his wife to manipulate his ambitious desires. His downfall is when he turns his back on honor and murders his king.

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johncyjohn | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 11, 2011 at 10:55 PM (Answer #15)

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Shakespeare's  tragic heros find an eminent position in society. According to the Aristotle the tragic hero is one who purifies the soul/heart of the readers/audience. Macbeth has served his duty sincerely in this aspect.He has remarkable qualities of head and heart for which he is praised as'Valour's minion' & Belladona's bridegroom'.

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jaydee12 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 14, 2011 at 12:10 AM (Answer #20)

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A tragic hero is a character that has a flaw. This flaw sets off a series of events that lead to the tragic hero's downfall or utter ruin.

Macbeth's tragic flaw is his ambition. He becomes Thane of Cawdor but once he hears the witches' apparitions he instantly wants to become King. His ambition is never satisfied. He always wants more than he already has. Macbeth sacrifices his reputation, relationships, honor, life, and his mind just to have power. His ambition leads to his ruin which is his death by Banquo.

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bashaer | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:46 PM (Answer #47)

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Some of the tragic elements explained by Aristotle in his “Poetics” apply to Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. The plot of “Macbeth” revolves around a serious subject which is treason, murder, battle, predictions, etc. The protagonist of the play is a person of significance. Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis and later of Cawdor as well. At the end of the play, the suffering and the tragic fall of the protagonist arouse pity and fear in the audience. They feel pity because Macbeth begins as a noble man who is very loyal to his king but he loses all that towards the end of the play. The audience will also feel fear at the end of the play because what happened to Macbeth might happen to them too. He is neither all good nor all evil according to Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. Macbeth is just like one of us. However, Shakespeare does not observe all three unities in his play. “Macbeth” does not have a unity of place because the playwright keeps changing the setting of the action. In addition, the actual events in the play exceed 24 hours and thus “Macbeth” does not have a unity of time either. Yet, it does have a unity of action since it has one main plot (no subplots), and Shakespeare does not mix between tragic and comic elements in this play.

Finally, because Macbeth (the protagonist) does not fulfill all of the characteristics of the tragic hero as Aristotle explained in his essay he (Macbeth) cannot be considered a tragic hero. Macbeth is neither all good nor all evil, is an important influential person in society, and has a hamartia which is greed and it leads to his tragic fall. Macbeth’s greed is what makes it easy for his wife to persuade him to kill the king. He becomes Thane of Cawdor rightfully but it is not enough for him. He becomes greedy for more and murders the king for the throne. However, Macbeth does not gain wisdom through his suffering. He does not learn a lesson for his losses and thus he does not reach the tragic status of the tragic hero.

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umarnobbee | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:43 AM (Answer #11)

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He possesses both pride and greatness and greed and evil.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 15, 2011 at 7:08 AM (Answer #1)

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According to Aristotle, in Poetics, the following characteristics are representative of a tragic hero:

1.  The tragic hero is a character of noble stature and has greatness.  This should be readily evident in the play.  The character must occupy a "high" status position but must ALSO embody nobility and virtue as part of his/her innate character.

In Macbeth, Macbeth can be seen as a tragic hero based upon this characteristic.  He does occupy a high status and, initially, embodies virtue.

2.  Though the tragic hero is pre-eminently great, he/she is not perfect.  Otherwise, the rest of us--mere mortals--would be unable to identify with the tragic hero.  We should see in him or her someone who is essentially like us, although perhaps elevated to a higher position in society.

Another characterisitc where Macbeth falls into that of a tragic hero is #2: many other characters see him as great- higher than the typical character in the Macbeth society.

3.  The hero's downfall, therefore, is partially her/his own fault, the result of free choice, not of accident or villainy or some overriding, malignant fate.  In fact, the tragedy is usually triggered by some error of judgment or some character flaw that contributes to the hero's lack of perfection noted above.   This error of judgment or character flaw is known as hamartia and is usually translated as "tragic flaw.

Again, Macbeth meets this criteria of the tragic hero.  His downfall is his own fault.  While some may argue that others were potentially responsible (the witches and Lady Macbeth), he ultimately made the final decisions regarding his actions.

4.  The hero's misfortunate is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime.

Here is where Macbeth parts from the typical tragic hero.  Macbeth, is eye for an eye is believed, deserved his outcome. His punishment (he is killed) does not exceed his crime (murder).

While some may argue that Macbeth is not a Tragic Hero, based upon Aristotle's definition, he meets three out of four requirements.

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zumba96 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted April 30, 2014 at 4:06 AM (Answer #107)

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Nobility: Macbeth fought honorably for Duncan against the invading forces at the beginning of Act I. He is noted for his bravery on the battlefield which is why Duncan makes him Thane of Cawdor. His tragic flaw is that he allows his wife to manipulate his ambitious desires. His downfall is when he turns his back on honor and murders his king.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 29, 2007 at 10:55 AM (Answer #1)

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Macbeth is something of a tragic hero because at times he seems a victim of preordained fate. Though he is definitely guilty of pride and greed, there is a certain doom implied in the witches' prophecies. When Macbeth goes to the "weird sisters" demanding a prophesy, they answer his demands by showing him the future, but in a cryptic way.

The first appartaion is that of an armed head, which warns thim to "beware Macduff,", the second is a bloody child who eerily says that "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"; the third is a crowned child who says Macbeth will be safe until "Birnam Wood moves against him."

In Act V, Macbeth is told that Birnam Wood *is* moving against him, his Queen has taken her own life, and lastly, Macduff informs him that he is not of "woman born" but was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd."

Macbeth falls to Macduff's sword, beheaded. A tragedy, indeed.

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brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted May 29, 2007 at 10:59 AM (Answer #2)

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A tragic hero is a person of noble birth with heroic or potentially heroic qualities. Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. He seems fated by the Gods or by some supernatural forces to doom and destruction or at least to great suffering. This tragic drama involves choices or free will and results in a paradox,is it Fate or Free Will which is primarily responsible for the suffering in the hero's life? Though fated the hero makes choices that bring about his destruction. In addition, tragic drama usually reveals the hero's true identity. The hero's suffering, however, is not gratuitous because through great suffering the hero is enlightened. Such heroes learn about themselves and their place in the universe. Pride is chastened. Though destroyed the hero is at peace intellectually. Many factors contribute to Macbeth’s description as a tragic hero. The prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual. Exploring to a greater extent these ideas that lead to a tragic hero should help you.

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madhurima13 | Student, Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted May 25, 2011 at 6:26 PM (Answer #7)

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Nobility: Macbeth fought honorably for Duncan against the invading forces at the beginning of Act I. He is noted for his bravery on the battlefield which is why Duncan makes him Thane of Cawdor. His tragic flaw is that he allows his wife to manipulate his ambitious desires. His downfall is when he turns his back on honor and murders his king.

 

The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth's degeneration are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual.

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yuh8888 | Student, Doctorate | eNoter

Posted November 4, 2013 at 4:51 AM (Answer #104)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero because he is a firefighter who is rather sad. Tragic.

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parama9000 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:32 AM (Answer #105)

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Tragedy: downfall of the main character

Ambition and insecurity were his downfalls.

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jalden | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted January 17, 2014 at 12:02 AM (Reply #1)

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What an interesting and straight to the point answer! I just finished teaching a course on "Macbeth" and your answer is a really excellent distillation of the essence of Macbeth's  character.

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acompanioninthetardis | TA , Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted May 31, 2014 at 11:58 PM (Answer #108)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero for many reasons.

1. His downfall was because of his own pride. Macbeth didn't see it but he died because he believed that he would never die.

2. Macbeth is also a tragic hero because he desired too much power.

3. Shakespeare made the audience sympathize with Macbeth.

4. His own ambition led to his downfall

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knightb | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 17, 2011 at 2:20 AM (Answer #17)

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Macbeth can be considered a tragic hero because he begins as a noble hero, having served his king honorably on the field of battle, but through the agency of a tragic flaw, he goes astray. In the beginning he is inherently good and up to that point in the play has made honorable decisions.  He is destroyed through the influence of a fatal flaw – his pride, greed, and ambition.  Macbeth makes several choices throughout the course of the play that lead to his downfall as a tragic hero. If at any point he had made a different decision, things may have turned out completely different. The important thing is that Macbeth had free will, but because of his fatal, or tragic, flaw he always made the decision leading him farther and farther away from his honorable beginnings.

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gradegrumber | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted July 17, 2011 at 9:15 AM (Answer #18)

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He is a tragic hero because he fits the criteria of a tragic hero.

Some of the criteria isits characteristics of a tragic hero:

1. The character should be born into some form of nobility or wisdom (remember that in ancient times, nobility was the royal family; modernly, nobility could be social.)
2. The character has a personality trait that leads to his/her downfall
3. The character is doomed to make an error in judgement.
4. The character should be neither good nor bad, but the audience should be able to identify with the character.
5. The character is responsible for his/her own fate.
6. The character will fall from great heights or esteem when s/he realizes s/he has made an irreversible mistake.
7. The character will face a tragic death with honor.

Remember that a tragic hero doesn't have to meet ALL of these characteristics, but should meet most of them.

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abstract62 | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:02 PM (Answer #23)

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The last note on gradegrumber's response--the fact that the tragic hero must face his death with honor--is a point that needs a little more discussion.  Take another look at how Macbeth faces his inevitable doom: after believing the witches' supposed assurances of his invulnerability, he sees each of the three failsafes fall apart, one after the other.  When Macduff confronts him with the last revelation, that he is himself "not of woman born" but was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd," you would expect a lesser man to resign himself to his fate and surrender.  What possible hope could Macbeth have left at this point?  Absolutely none.  But he still lifts up his sword and defies everyone and everything to his last breath.  Even though he knows he is doomed, he will not be damn'd by crying "Hold, enough!"  He goes to his death with some measure of his honor reclaimed, right at the end of his life.  That's definitely a measure of heroic greatness, no matter what atrocities he wallowed in before.

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sureshpandey | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:05 PM (Answer #24)

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1  A statement that something will happen in the future ie Prophecy by witchhes.

2  Control of Macbeth's judgement.

3 Long lasting ambition which forwarded to become king are the key point which lead him to downfall ie death.

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sarahkhan1 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:57 PM (Answer #31)

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Nobility: Macbeth fought honorably for Duncan against the invading forces at the beginning of Act I. He is noted for his bravery on the battlefield which is why Duncan makes him Thane of Cawdor. His tragic flaw is that he allows his wife to manipulate his ambitious desires. His downfall is when he turns his back on honor and murders his king.

The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth's degeneration are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual. More….

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spatrickdavis | Middle School Teacher | Honors

Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:28 AM (Answer #32)

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Macbeth was assassinated

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samantha96 | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted September 30, 2011 at 5:48 PM (Answer #34)

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At the beginning of the play Macbeth is definitely viewed as a hero of Scotland. He successfully defeated the Norwegian’s in what was supposedly to be a lost battle due to the Thane of Cawdor’s betrayal. Although while he possessed great ambition under Lady Macbeth's perseverance and pressure and succeed in becoming the King of Scotland, he was in no way a hero. To be classed so highly in society he was evidently responsible for the death of many innocent people including Macduff’s family and servants, his supposed best friend Banquo, King Duncan and through his actions he can be blamed to an extent for Lady Macbeth's suicide.

To express his true masculinity he should have overruled his wife and stood up to her instead of cowering at her insults, especially during this time in history where women did not play an important role in society and were supposed to do as their husbands told them. Macbeth let his wife take control of the situation and manipulate his mind. If he had refused her order to murder King Duncan, then she would not have felt the overwhelming guilt that intruded her mind and left her feeling as though her only way to rid herself of this nauseating feeling was to commit what was considered to be one of the most sinful acts in that time. Her suicide reflected on her husband’s lack of courage and support, if he had been there to offer her comfort she may not have been driven to commit suicide.

It is cunningness, stealth and ambition that made Macbeth successful, however a hero aims to good for others not for himself. Macbeth's story is tragic although he in no way died a hero, especially considering his empire followed his command purely out of fear and not respect.

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jennygirl | Student | eNoter

Posted October 8, 2011 at 12:18 AM (Answer #36)

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Macbeth is truly a tragic hero for he killed the king and all of his fellowcompanions to gain his power as a ruler. However, he kills his own life (by Macduff) after murdering numerous people. In short, he killed his own soul for the punishment of giving away the lives of those who were meant to be alive.

 

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patelmilia98 | Student, Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:32 AM (Answer #37)

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it was really sad

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abubakar55 | eNoter

Posted November 1, 2011 at 11:56 PM (Answer #38)

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if you notice,lady macbeth was always telling him to do stuff.macbeth was a kind hearted person and in shame he killed himself.

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maddie148 | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted November 7, 2011 at 2:39 AM (Answer #39)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero in the original sense of the word....he is high born, he is loyal to his king, Duncan, and he is a brave warrior in the service of his king. In short, we (the audience) perceive him to be better than any one of us. When he allows himself to be bamboozled by the witches...and he puts his own ambition before his service to King Duncan...he begins to lose his luster in our eyes. It is tempting to find Lady Macbeth at fault and even to put the entire blame of Macbeth's decline on her shoulders, but she is not the one who will become king...he will...and it is he who has the "overriding ambition" and the desire and the means to kill Duncan and take his crown.
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manoalsubeai | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 13, 2011 at 12:31 AM (Answer #41)

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sorry

i think Macbeth is considred as tragic hero cuz the flaw of character which is one of Aristotle theory about hero .

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sat93 | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 14, 2011 at 3:34 AM (Answer #42)

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To know why Macbeth is a tragic hero, we will need to look at Aristotle's classical greek definition of a tragic hero.

In greek drama..the tragic hero is one who has all the virtues of nature enshrined within him, but for one tragic flaw, the hamartia that corrupts his better side and brings about his downfall.

In Macbeth, we see several virtues- his valour is evident in his being addressed as "Valour's minion" and "bellona's bridegroom" in the opening act of the play. We see his respect for his comrades in arms, the loyalty and awe he inspired on the battlefield, as well as his determination to defend his kingdom against all enemies. Shakespeare, however, softly puts in a seed of evil- the similarity between the witches' closing statement in act 1 sc 1 - " fair is foul, and foul is fair"

and macbeth's opening remark: " so fair and foul a day I have not seen." in act 1 sc 4

There are numerous more such points, on which i will elucidate further.

 

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rzimand | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 14, 2011 at 4:26 AM (Answer #43)

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Aristotle descrives a tragic hero as Aristotle contests that the tragic hero has to be a man “who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty.” Macbeth's downfall is brought about by what's called hubris, or excessive pride. This is a common downfall of the tragic hero.

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saransh2012 | Student | Honors

Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:10 PM (Answer #44)

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mACBET IS NOT A HERO

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ridxx | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:46 PM (Answer #45)

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Keeping it real simple and short, Macbeth is a tragic hero because he has been gone through all the miseries and problems all the way. his attempts to achieve the rank of a king brought about his down fall in losing everything he owned, from a family to companions and even his life at the end.

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ashanti-bruhh | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted November 30, 2011 at 9:55 AM (Answer #46)

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Macbeth is considered a tragic hero because he has a tragic flaw - his vaulting ambition - and he is a brave soldier who fought for what he believed in from the beginning to the end of the play

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c--------- | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted December 14, 2011 at 11:47 PM (Answer #48)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero as shakespear,s macbeth  fulfiils the requirements of tragic hero- agreat person but having flaws in its personality as well as doing the catharasis of the audience. as his bravery and ambition against armed force marked him as a hero but the same ambition makes his story  tragic with the development of plot. yet another piont that is to be noted is perhaps the shakespear's inention is to disclose the fact of will power of good, that is lacking in Macbeth, though he thinks of the both of the aspects of murdering king.His conscience also rebuked not to kill the king as he is the guest of him.yet he flows in the way of prophecies of witches and decisions of his wife. thus he lacks a moral conscience which surely leads him to atragic ending.

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libz5 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted December 15, 2011 at 4:42 AM (Answer #49)

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in my opinion macbeth isnt a hero at all he killed so many including children this lead to his downfall near the end where he got killed himself

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louisejahnke | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:17 AM (Answer #50)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero because he was of high estate, a king, who has a fatal fall, doesn't believe anyone can harm him, and dies in the fifth and final act of the play.

Even though Macbeth was not in line to become king, he declared himself one thus beginning his real downfall.  Glory and honor was to be his; unfortunately his conscience led him down the fatal path to his death.

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hari12 | Honors

Posted December 21, 2011 at 6:59 PM (Answer #51)

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Macbeth was written by Shakespeare. The character of Macbeth is a classical example of how Shakespeare presents tragic heroes in his writings.

The prophecy told by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgement and Macbeth's long time desire to be king drove him from noble man to violent individual.

In the end, the prohecies given to him by lady witches, Lady Macbeth's plan and Macbeth's intention to become a king contributed to his degeneration and led to the downfall.

The above three factors displays Macbeth character a tragic hero and thus making him the classic example of tragic hero.

 


 

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shadimary | Student | eNoter

Posted January 16, 2012 at 1:05 AM (Answer #52)

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tragic heroes are those characters of high and noble birth. he will most effectively evoke both our pitty and terror if he is neither thoroughly good nor thoroughly bad but a mixture of both. the trajic effect will be stronger if the hero is "better than we are".

here macbeth is a tragic hero because he is both from a noble birth and is in higher possision than we are. he is neither thoroughly bad (at first he wants to help the king) and nor thoroughly good ( he killed the king and his family). but his doom was pre-stablished as we can assume from the forcast of the 3 witches at the begining.

macbeth made a tragic flaw and aroke both our pity and fear at the end.

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johnpere1 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted February 3, 2012 at 6:27 PM (Answer #53)

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I strongly agrees with the statement that Macbeth is a tragic hero. At the very begining of the play the three witches' prophecy is fulfilled. This is when King Duncan names Macbeth as the Thane of Cawdor. And for sure at this time all will agree with me that Macbeth is a hero: He has shown great success in the battle field and now has been named a Thane of Cawdor. Unlike the expectations of many, he kills his king. This is the start point of his tragic flaw. After killing the king, Murder becomes the only way to maintain his Kingship. Eventually his wife dies and himself killed. An otherwise honorable king ends with such a miserable death!

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johnpere1 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted February 3, 2012 at 6:31 PM (Answer #54)

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I strongly agree with the statement that Macbeth is a tragic hero. At the very begining of the play the three witches' prophecy is fulfilled. This is when King Duncan names Macbeth as the Thane of Cawdor. And for sure at this time all will agree with me that Macbeth is a hero: He has shown great success in the battle field and now has been named a Thane of Cawdor. Unlike the expectations of many, he kills his king. This is the start point of his tragic flaw. After killing the king, Murder becomes the only way to maintain his Kingship. Eventually his wife dies and himself killed. An otherwise honorable king ends with such a miserable death!

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tldward1490 | eNoter

Posted February 5, 2012 at 5:43 AM (Answer #55)

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I just finished helping my son write a term paper on the transformation of Macbeth and in his paper he addressed Macbeth as a tragic hero.  The hero part to the Macbeth story comes in at the beginning when Macbeth returns from fighting and he is bestowed with the honor of Thane, glorified by the king, family and friends.  He loved, honored and respected by everyone around him.  He is truly a hero, a war hero, returning home from battle. The tragic part of Macbeth comes into play when he lets the evil inside of him  begin to take over his mind and soul.  He allows his greed and lust for power, his wife's greed and power hungry thirst, to convince him to kill the king--to turn against the very man who honored him so graciously.  The killings would continue until they eventually weighed so heavily on Macbeth's mind and ate at his soul that they drove him to insanity.  A once great hero had now become a sad sad shell of the man he once was.  He was disturbed by nightmares, visions, sleeplessness and anguish that would not let him rest in peace ultimately driving him insane.  This once 'hero' had become a pitiful excuse for leader; no one respected him, his soldiers did not fight FOR him anymore--only fighting because they had TO, his wife died, he was truly alone in the world with no one to love and no one loved him.  He had sunken into a dark abyss.  A tragic fall for a once great hero.

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anveshanushka | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:08 PM (Answer #56)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero and the beginning praise by Duncan about his military skills proves it. Also, in regard to the witches, they merely predict what will happen, but never are we given the impression that the witches have actually INFLUENCED Macbeth to do anything. So yes, the methods and ideas are from his own mind, but what do we see throughout Macbeth?

We see a man, once noble and honorable, praised by the king, a cousin of him as well, suddenly sell his humanity to ambition.

...I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other.


He knows what he's doing and he's in full control, but we see the struggle in his eloquent poetry. We see the conflict between his moral self and his ambition. Ambition wins out, and Macbeth embraces immorality.

Once he gets what he wants, the crown, he realizes he is not happy. He can't trust anyone, and no one will trust him. His wife is mad, and a lot of people are...well, dead. This is his reversal of fortune.

Macbeth soon loses his vigor in the speech in Act V Scene V. (too lazy to quote it. *sweatdrop*) where he speaks of how futile Life is.

Macbeth is a tragic hero through and through. However his actions cause resentment amongst the audience, so instead of feeling sorrow at his demise as we would for Othello, Hamlet, or King Lear, we feel relief that such a tyrant is dead. But in truth, there was a story, there was a human inside this tyrant. He is literary proof as to the dangers of ambition

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skippi | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted February 18, 2012 at 6:19 PM (Answer #58)

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Basically he starts off as a good and honourable soldier loyal to King Duncan, but has a fatal flaw which is his greed for power -much encouraged by Lady Macbeth- which as you know leads him to kill Duncan; instead of waiting for the witches predictions to come true in their own time, he rushes into killing Duncan to take his 'fate' into his own hands to take power as King.

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ramakant | Teacher | eNoter

Posted February 20, 2012 at 11:43 PM (Answer #59)

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shakespearean tragedy, as a rule, is always a tragedy both of character and destiny. The Shakesperean tragic hero is not only always great, he is generally good also.Macbeth is the most perfect and the most complex hero of Shakespeare. In him, we find the most pathetic example of a great man of power, nobility, strength and courage ruined through the existence of a trifling inherent weakness brought into contact with the special hostile circumstances calculated to defeat him. Yet he is himself responsible for his formidable doom. The most outstanding  tragic trait in his character is his inordinate ambition. The course of action suggested to him by his ambition was extremely perilous and hazardous.He is also weak of will and determination for which he sufferrs terrible mental and spiritual torture.............

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ajprincess | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted February 26, 2012 at 12:32 AM (Answer #61)

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Macbeth is the titular character of the famous Shakespearean play. A tragic character is one who begins the play as an important, if not the most important and best figure. Through his own mistakes, however, he is brought to the lowest point. Macbeth is a respected noble who meets his end due to his own ambition

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striveas1ummah | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:48 AM (Answer #62)

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Macbeth fought honorably for Duncan against the invading forces at the beginning of Act I. He is noted for his bravery on the battlefield which is why Duncan makes him Thane of Cawdor. His tragic flaw is that he allows his wife to manipulate his ambitious desires. His downfall is when he turns his back on honor and murders his king.

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aaliyah1 | Student, College Freshman | Honors

Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:45 PM (Answer #63)

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MacBeth - Tragic Hero The character of Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. There are many factors which contribute to the degeneration of Macbeth of which three will be discussed. The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth's degeneration are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual. The prophecies which were told by the witches were one of the factors which contributed to the degeneration of his character. If it had not been for the witches telling him that he was to be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland, Macbeth would still be his ordinary self. As a result of the prophecies, this aroused Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies. Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy for Macbeth's curiosity which corrupts his character. The influence of Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed to his degeneration of character. Lady Macbeth's character in the beginning reveals that she is a lovable person. When Lady Macbeth was ready to kill King Duncan herself, it showed that Lady Macbeth could not murder King Duncan because he reminded her of her father. This proves that Lady Macbeth has a heart deep inside her. Lady Macbeth plays an important role in this play because she provided a scheme which caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had killed King Duncan, he later regrets on his wrong doing. At the point of this play the audience can note the change in Macbeth's character. Macbeth's first murder was a trying experience for him, however after the first murder, killing seemed to be the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland. Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth who introduced the concept of murder to Macbeth. Macbeth's ambition also influenced his declining character. However, Macbeth's ambition had not been strong enough to carry the motive to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth's influence also comes in to play because if not for Lady Macbeth, his ambition would not have been intensified enough to drive him to obtain and maintain his title of King of Scotland no matter what it took, even if it meant murdering. Macbeth's ambition influenced the cause of his new character. This new character of Macbeth contained greed, violence, and power hunger. Macbeth shows this when he kills King Duncan. In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth's influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed greatly to his degeneration of character which resulted to his downfall...death. Therefore Macbeth character displays strong signs of a tragic hero, making him the ideal classic example. Reference http://www.field-of-themes.com/shakespeare/essays/Emacbeth3.htm

Sources:

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angels9286 | College Teacher | Honors

Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:43 PM (Answer #64)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero and the beginning praise by Duncan about his military skills proves it. Also, in regard to the witches, they merely predict what will happen, but never are we given the impression that the witches have actually INFLUENCED Macbeth to do anything. So yes, the methods and ideas are from his own mind, but what do we see throughout Macbeth?

We see a man, once noble and honorable, praised by the king, a cousin of him as well, suddenly sell his humanity to ambition.

...I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other.


He knows what he's doing and he's in full control, but we see the struggle in his eloquent poetry. We see the conflict between his moral self and his ambition. Ambition wins out, and Macbeth embraces immorality.

Once he gets what he wants, the crown, he realizes he is not happy. He can't trust anyone, and no one will trust him. His wife is mad, and a lot of people are...well, dead. This is his reversal of fortune.

Macbeth soon loses his vigor in the speech in Act V Scene V. (too lazy to quote it. *sweatdrop*) where he speaks of how futile Life is.

Macbeth is a tragic hero through and through. However his actions cause resentment amongst the audience, so instead of feeling sorrow at his demise as we would for Othello, Hamlet, or King Lear, we feel relief that such a tyrant is dead. But in truth, there was a story, there was a human inside this tyrant. He is literary proof as to the dangers of ambition.

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jmqualls | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted March 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM (Answer #65)

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Macbeth is the tragic hero because he really did not want to do the things he  did.  He struggled all through play with his conscience.  Being pretty much called a wimp by Lady Macbeth, he just gave in.  Although he did terrible things, if he had followed his moral compass, he could have earned his place on the throne.  That struggle between ambition and honor caused him to be a tragic hero.

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avhuffman | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:08 PM (Answer #66)

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The character of Macbeth by Shakespeare is a classic example of a victim of destiny and he is also responsible for his own demise. There are many influences that contribute to the collapse of Macbeth. Macbeth’s collapse was due to the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced his judgment, and finally how Macbeth’s long time determination drove his desire to be king.

After hearing the witch’s prophesies, this led Macbeth’s character to change from a honorable individual to a violent individual.  The prophecies which were told by the witches were one of the influences that contributed to the collapse of Macbeth’s character. The witches told him that he was to be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland. If it were not for this prophesies, Macbeth would have still been his ordinary self and not sought out to achieve his prophesies. Macbeth, compared to other Shakespeare’s characters has human flaws and failings-jealousy, greed, ambition, and self-deception (Feiro, Book 3, p. 143) which takes over Macbeth and leads to his own demise. As a result of the prophecies, Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland arose. Throughout the play, Macbeth slowly depends on the witches prophecies.

Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed to his collapse of character. Lady Macbeth's character appears to be a loving person in the beginning of the play.  Her character changed when she was ready to kill King Duncan herself.  Lady Macbeth could not murder King Duncan because he reminded her of her father, who still showed love, but also that greed was taking over her too. Lady Macbeth plays a big influence in this play because she organized the scheme which caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth’s first murder of King Duncan, killing seemed to be the only answer to uphold his control of the people of Scotland. Therefore, Macbeth was introduced to the concept of murder by Lady Macbeth.

Macbeth's determination also influenced his declining character. However, Macbeth's determination to fulfill prophesies had not been strong enough to kill King Duncan.  His determination would not have been exaggerated enough to obtain and maintain his title of King of Scotland if it had not been for Lady Macbeth.  Macbeth's determination influenced the source of his new character. This new character of Macbeth contained greed and violence.

In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth's influence and plan to kill the King, and his strengthened determination, all contributed to his collapse of character which made him responsible for his own demise.

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symkhan | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:45 PM (Answer #67)

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Macbeth is the titular character of the famous Shakespearean play. A tragic character is one who begins the play as an important, if not the most important and best figure. Through his own mistakes, however, he is brought to the lowest point. Macbeth is a respected noble who meets his end due to his own ambition.

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samiaa1 | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted March 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM (Answer #68)

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Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy. It was written for the entertainment of, the recently crowned, James I. James had a well documented fascination with witchcraft and had himself written books on the subject of witches. Obviously, James' Scottish heritage is also being utilised. Shakespeare was appealing to things that he knew would please the King.

Interestingly Macbeth is based, at least in part, in fact. There was a real King of Scotland named Macbeth. He, however, ruled successfully for a comparatively long time in the context of the period. It could be that Shakespeare felt the need to have a grisly end for the regicidal Scotsman, in order to reinforce the notion of ‘divine right to rule’ and that any attempt on a king’s life will never end well for the perpetrator. This again could be said to be an attempt to flatter the new monarch.

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madeiha | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:30 AM (Answer #69)

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a person with great qualities always carries a flaw in him.macbeth,who no doubt possess great qualities but his curiosity takes him towards his own destrution.And as a result he fall into his own doom.His curiosity took him towards his own destruction which is definitely a sign of downfall.

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suvini | Student | Valedictorian

Posted March 17, 2012 at 2:27 AM (Answer #70)

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macbeth the protaganist of the play is the only person likely to be the tragic hero

due to Lady macbeth , macbeth falls into a position of vulnerabity(because she questions his manhood). later on he builds up greed and acts according to only his desires. but at the end ends up killed

we should understand that he was the most loyal and faithful person to the king and the others he was the hero of the war when he defeated macdonwald.

but due to Lady macbeth he lost his reputation completely falling into the position of greed.

sice he gets killed in the end and according to the definition of a tragic hero

macbeth can be called the tragic hero.

i hope this information is good!!!

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farthingale | Salutatorian

Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:17 PM (Answer #71)

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Maybe we can suggest that Macbeth (the character) is a tragic hero because Shakespeare's tragedies follow the principles of Aristotle's Poetics. According to Aristotle, at the basis of the hero's fall there is flaw which is called hamartia (the tragic flaw) and the hero in unable to resist to his excessive pride (hubris). Furthermore we can notice easily that Macbeth (the play) follows the following pattern: the rising action, the climax, the falling action and the denouement or catastrophe.


Thank you for posting this question.

Zac

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shakespeareiscool97 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted March 25, 2012 at 4:26 PM (Answer #72)

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Macbeth is seen as a tragic hero because he could've been a good king due to how great a warrior he was and how he was as Lady Macbeth puts it 'Full of the milk of human kindness' but he was drawn to the dark side because of Lady Macbeth's violent powers of persuasion (dashing the brains out of a smiling baby) and Macbeth's own hunger for power as seen as when he says that the Prince of Cumberland is something he must fall over or o'erleap.

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suvetha | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:39 AM (Answer #73)

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Shakespeare's tragic heros find an eminent position in society. According to the Aristotle the tragic hero is one who purifies the soul/heart of the readers/audience. Macbeth has served his duty sincerely in this aspect.He has remarkable qualities of head and heart for which he is praised as'Valour's minion' & Belladona's bridegroom'.

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apoorvauniyal | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:52 PM (Answer #74)

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_a hero turned villian_    dats it :)

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jd-123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted April 17, 2012 at 12:08 AM (Answer #75)

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What makes Macbeth a tragic hero is the fact that he started off as a nobleman who was well loved and then ended up having a whole army against him. What also makes him tragic is his poetic imagination and the way he expresses his feeling to the audience in his soliloquys.

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ju2010 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted April 23, 2012 at 7:23 AM (Answer #76)

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a tragic character is one who is basically a good,noble character having a tragic flaw(for macbeth its over ambition) which is guided by either hamartia or hubris or both.

In macbeth we see in act 1 that the very first time when he meets the weird sisters in the darken heath,he is extremely curious when he hears their prophesy on contrary to banquo.In fact the prophesy would never have come true if macbeth had not acted in that way(as voldemort does in hp).
thus when  the witches fly away not answering macbeth's Q's,macbeth's first reaction to banquo is -doesn't he hope that his sons would be king.there is no q is macbeth's mind that the witches may be fiends equivocating(a fact which is readily realized by banquo).

macbeth's over ambition was bubbling forth below the surface,dormant,requring only a lil ignition..the witches does this.

after that all throughout the play,guided by his wife and the evilness of his mind he is indirectly forced into wrongness.he is over ambitious and the oracle that he'l be the future king forces him to act in such way.

he is a good char becoz he is hesitant to kill duncan when his wife forces him to--the soliliquy is very revealing.

he becomes a tragic character becoz-

1.over ambition

2.hubris

 

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salonibha | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted April 30, 2012 at 9:01 AM (Answer #77)

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Macbeth is the legendry character and a play revolvs around the protagnatist.(hero)

 

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d771996 | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM (Answer #78)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero as he goes from being of high standard or a noble to being nothing in context of character because he kills the king of Scotland in being highly ambitious which was not checked by principles.He was a tragic hero because he had a tragic flaw in his character which caused his downfall.From being a noble he went to being nothing.

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pg0612 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM (Answer #79)

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A tragic hero is "a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat". Macbeth fits that definition perfectly. At the onset of the play, we see Macbeth victorious in the battlefield. The warriors with Macbeth praise him on the battlefield.  King Duncan hears about Macbeth’s bravery and awards Macbeth the title Thane of Cawdor after the previous Thane had committed treason. In other words, it seems as if Macbeth is destined for great things…all on his own merit.

Yet, once the witches appear to Macbeth and Banquo, Macbeth wants to take matters into his own hands. He gets in his own way. Aristotle’s concept of hamartia is evident here. Macbeth makes a miscalculation. He wants to rise to the top through wrongdoing which of course makes him a tragic hero. Also, hubris is at work here as well. Macbeth has overwhelming pride and, this too, leads to his downfall. He thinks he is greater than all others as he is gullible and believes the witches’ prophesies. They are there to lead him down a path of destruction, and he willingly follows to gain success.  He will stop at nothing to attain the kingship. Of course, all of this actually leads to his demise making his one of the most tragic heroes in British Literature.


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ramlakshmi | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:03 PM (Answer #80)

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No doubt Macbeth is a hero. As long as he trusts his sword, he remains a hero. Once he starts trusting the 'word' (his wife's persuation and  the witches' prophecies) , his fall begins and gathers momentum. A woman and three witches wreck his life. It is really tragic for an icon of a man to be cowed by women.But in male company, though an adversary like Macduff, he regains his valour. Though his death is not a tragedy but a welcome relief in the case of such a noble character, his fall from a high pedestal following Duncan's murder till his final revival of glory in the battlefield is matter of tragic proportions.Hence, Macbeth is indeed a tragic hero.

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nickyblount013 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted June 16, 2012 at 5:07 AM (Answer #82)

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Macbeth is something of a tragic hero because at times he seems a victim of preordained fate. Though he is definitely guilty of pride and greed, there is a certain doom implied in the witches' prophecies. When Macbeth goes to the "weird sisters" demanding a prophesy, they answer his demands by showing him the future, but in a cryptic way. The first appartaion is that of an armed head, which warns thim to "beware Macduff,", the second is a bloody child who eerily says that "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"; the third is a crowned child who says Macbeth will be safe until "Birnam Wood moves against him." In Act V, Macbeth is told that Birnam Wood *is* moving against him, his Queen has taken her own life, and lastly, Macduff informs him that he is not of "woman born" but was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd." Macbeth falls to Macduff's sword, beheaded. A tragedy, indeed. hope this helps......... LOVE YOU HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!
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penwrite | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 23, 2012 at 9:16 PM (Answer #83)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero because he has a flaw i.e an error in his character that led to his downfall.

The error in his character is his innordinate ambition of becoming king which blinded him to all voices of reason until he "murdered sleep" and could sleep no more.

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florine | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted June 30, 2012 at 9:33 AM (Answer #85)

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     It'd be of some interest to compare Richard and Macbeth. According to a critic, "Richard is a villain that becomes a hero" whereas Macbeth is "a hero that becomes a villain." Other critics stress the idea that Macbeth, as opposed to Richard III insists on the hero's free will. Consequently, Macbeth is a truly tragic hero. Nevertheless, Macbeth has also been said to be "a statement of evil". Macbeth is a thoroughly evil character at the end of the play and like Richard, he now is similar to the "anti-chtist", the Vice since he is doomed to be the "show and gaze o'the time."

    "We'll have thee as our rare monsters are ,

     Painted upon a pole, and underwrit

    Here may you see the tyrant." 

                                                      V.IX.23-27

   So, Macbeth is far from being a tragic hero that corresponds to the Aristotelian definition, which is based on "pity and fear". We do not feel that he does not deserve his fate. We are not sympathetic, we do not feel any pity.

   The pitiable state Lady Macbeth is in makes her a truly Aristotelian tragic character, but not Macbeth. The function of Lady Macbeth's delirium is germane with Macbeth's bouts of madness in the banquet scene. The roles have been reversed at the end. Maybe, the only way we can consider Macbeth as a truly tragic character is when we keep associating him with Lady Macbeth, because of the sexual desire she aroused. It is the "dead butcher (like Richard) and the fiend-like Queen", V.IX.35, we cannot but pity because they stand for sexual passion, for desire. 

  It's true that there is catharsis and the purgation of passions plays a major role in the final act but I think Macduff's arresting image of Macbeth becoming the "show and gaze of the time" and the vision of the wicked royal couple are compelling arguments that go against the Aristotelian formula.  

 

   

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loulou23 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM (Answer #86)

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according to Aristotle a tragic hero has to have a tragic flaw in Macbeth is ambition which will cause his downfull, also a tragic hero has to be of a high status (noble man) whether a king a leader

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ruthmary | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:11 AM (Answer #87)

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when there was many difficulties infront of macbeth,he gave his full energy to overcome it.thou,he couldnt its something else.bt he always took steps beforehand and always wanted not to give his kingship to anybody.for it he tried to take help from the witches.for him it doesnt matter who they were or what they want.not only so.he always tried to keep his same standard infront of his kingdom and his lords.

in short,thou he knew that he was a murderer and what he did was wrong but he still never gave his hope up to continue his kingship or wished to die.

so to me,he was not only brave but clever too.macbeth was a real hero and a tragic hero.

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jjrichardson | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted August 19, 2012 at 3:30 AM (Answer #91)

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As a result of the prophecies, this aroused
Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. As the play
progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies.
Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy for Macbeth's curiosity which
corrupts his character.

      The influence of Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed
to his degeneration of character. Lady Macbeth's character in the
beginning reveals that she is a lovable person. When Lady Macbeth was
ready to kill King Duncan herself, it showed that Lady Macbeth could
not murder King Duncan because he reminded her of her father. This
proves that Lady Macbeth has a heart deep inside her. Lady Macbeth
plays an important role in this play because she provided a scheme
which caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had
killed King Duncan, he later regrets on his wrong doing. At the point
of this play the audience can note the change in Macbeth's character

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kalynchatterjee | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM (Answer #92)

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What redeem Macbeth from becoming a villainous murderer and makes him a tragic hero instead are two factors chiefly:

    1. His poetic imagination, manifest in his thoughts/ soliloquies.

and

    2. his indomitable spirit. He does not flinch even at the face of sure    death. 

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shizza123 | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted September 19, 2012 at 7:19 PM (Answer #93)

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Macbeth has the main role in macbeth. He has some great hero-like qualities which get him a higher post in the beginning of the play, for example bravery and leadership. however, along with those good qualities, he has some bad ones which lead to his destruction at the end. A tragic hero is a hero who has some qualities or imperfections that lead to a tragic ending of his life, causing him to lose about everything. One such quality in macbeth is his gullibleness. He is persuaded too easily by his wife, which then causes him to commit all those bad deeds and murders. 

:)

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maddie148 | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:22 PM (Answer #94)

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The ancient Greek dramatists defined a tragic hero as one whom we, the audience, perceive to be better that any one of us but who, through his tragic flaw, or hubris, falls from grace and becomes a pariah.  Macbeth's flaw is his "vaulting ambition", as he himself admits.  By killing Duncan and Banquo and everyone else who stands in his way he secures his position as a villain. 

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ashley24906 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted September 29, 2012 at 9:01 AM (Answer #95)

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MacBeth - Tragic Hero The character of Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. There are many factors which contribute to the degeneration of Macbeth of which three will be discussed. The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth's degeneration are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual. The prophecies which were told by the witches were one of the factors which contributed to the degeneration of his character. If it had not been for the witches telling him that he was to be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland, Macbeth would still be his ordinary self. As a result of the prophecies, this aroused Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies. Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy for Macbeth's curiosity which corrupts his character. The influence of Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed to his degeneration of character. Lady Macbeth's character in the beginning reveals that she is a lovable person. When Lady Macbeth was ready to kill King Duncan herself, it showed that Lady Macbeth could not murder King Duncan because he reminded her of her father. This proves that Lady Macbeth has a heart deep inside her. Lady Macbeth plays an important role in this play because she provided a scheme which caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had killed King Duncan, he later regrets on his wrong doing. At the point of this play the audience can note the change in Macbeth's character. Macbeth's first murder was a trying experience for him, however after the first murder, killing seemed to be the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland. Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth who introduced the concept of murder to Macbeth. Macbeth's ambition also influenced his declining character. However, Macbeth's ambition had not been strong enough to carry the motive to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth's influence also comes in to play because if not for Lady Macbeth, his ambition would not have been intensified enough to drive him to obtain and maintain his title of King of Scotland no matter what it took, even if it meant murdering. Macbeth's ambition influenced the cause of his new character. This new character of Macbeth contained greed, violence, and power hunger. Macbeth shows this when he kills King Duncan. In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth's influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed greatly to his degeneration of character which resulted to his downfall...death. Therefore Macbeth character displays strong signs of a tragic hero, making him the ideal classic example.
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patelmilia98 | Student, Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:58 PM (Answer #96)

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classic example of shakespeare of tragic

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ssengupta | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 4, 2012 at 2:16 AM (Answer #97)

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Macbeth is considered a tragic hero because, despite the apparently predestined nature of what transpires in the play, he is nevertheless responsible for his own actions. True, the witches "proclaim" his becoming King -- and he does! But throughout the play, Shakespeare artistically and artfully has Macbeth realize the crime he is contemplating --the murder of King Duncan. He has, says Macbeth, been the epitome of gentleness; kind and generous to him. Nothing justifies the assassination.

Yet Lady Macbeth concludes at once that the murder is necessary. Macbeth agrees but is not willing to kill the king.  He has a conscience, but his wife seems to be completely bereft of it. Together, they plot the murder and Macbeth kills the king.

Everything goes downhill after that. Muder begets more murders; lies beget lies. "Naughts are all spent/Where our desire's got without content," says Lady Macbeth.

What Shakespeare does, with great artistry and humanity, is give Macbeth a free will. Life will have its propositions, even temptations. But a person, especially one with the social stature of Macbeth, is expected to weigh the good with the bad. Never in the play does he once doubt the sin he was about to commit. But his ambition, spurred on by the witches and his wife, came to be his downfall.

Macbeth is a tragic hero because he exhibits all the characteristics of a tragic hero of the Elizabethan age: a person from a noble family, basically good, but, plagued by his ambition, ends up committing a henious act, bringing about his own downfall, filling us, his audience and readers, with pity and terror.

 
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shreyachatterjee257 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM (Answer #98)

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Macbeth is represented as a tragic hero because his ambition leads to his downfall.Though he was a very valient warrior and of the most favourite Thane,but he drifted from his path of good deed on listening to the prophecy of the witches.

           Aristotle's concept of tragic hero is that the change in fate of the hero from good to bad due to his own follies,hence Macbeth's ambition is the result of his upturned destiny.Hence he can be regarded as a tragic hero.

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stefaniecilia | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:06 PM (Answer #99)

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Must reference Aristotle's work on Tragedy for this answer! 

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mubbashir | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:54 AM (Answer #100)

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The character of Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. There are many factors which contribute to the degeneration of Macbeth of which three will be discussed. The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth's degeneration are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual. The prophecies which were told by the witches were one of the factors which contributed to the degeneration of his character. If it had not been for the witches telling him that he was to be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland, Macbeth would still be his ordinary self. As a result of the prophecies, this aroused Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies. Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy for Macbeth's curiosity which corrupts his character. The influence of Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed to his degeneration of character. Lady Macbeth's character in the beginning reveals that she is a lovable person. When Lady Macbeth was ready to kill King Duncan herself, it showed that Lady Macbeth could not murder King Duncan because he reminded her of her father. This proves that Lady Macbeth has a heart deep inside her. Lady Macbeth plays an important role in this play because she provided a scheme which caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had killed King Duncan, he later regrets on his wrong doing. At the point of this play the audience can note the change in Macbeth's character. Macbeth's first murder was a trying experience for him, however after the first murder, killing seemed to be the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland. Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth who introduced the concept of murder to Macbeth. Macbeth's ambition also influenced his declining character. However, Macbeth's ambition had not been strong enough to carry the motive to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth's influence also comes in to play because if not for Lady Macbeth, his ambition would not have been intensified enough to drive him to obtain and maintain his title of King of Scotland no matter what it took, even if it meant murdering. Macbeth's ambition influenced the cause of his new character. This new character of Macbeth contained greed, violence, and power hunger. Macbeth shows this when he kills King Duncan. In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth's influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed greatly to his degeneration of character which resulted to his downfall...death. Therefore Macbeth character displays strong signs of a tragic hero, making him the ideal classic example.
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kiyani | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 18, 2012 at 5:52 AM (Answer #101)

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Macbeth is a tragic hero in the sense whole play revolves around him his heroic action have been discussed before he appeared on stage that how other character discuss about him or his personality , how he fought against their enemy, they talke about his bravery  and  because of his good performance in the battle King Duncan make him thane of cowdor and says that he really deserve that but tragedy in play is this that Macbeth himself destroy his peace and indulge in more heinous action like muder of King and his friend Banquo just because of greed , evil mind and on insistence of his wife Lady macbeth.First he was not ready to do that bad  action (murder of king) but Lady macbeth pursuit and manipulate him to do this to make the  prophices of witches truth.Ladt macbeth words " your heart is not red as wine but as white as lillies"He really didn't want to be appeare as coward because he was not coward or afraid but he knew well that king is a kind and lovable person by all and king has also been done many goods to macbeth as well.King appreciats the macbeth bravery and considers him  sincere fellow but on constant pursuing of lady macbeth Macbeth got ready to do the henious act that ever human being done on earth.In this way Macbeth s character changes from noble man to violent and power hunger person .Next we see that how he become cruel , violent , greedy for power that he thinks to remain the king of scotland he have to assassinate one more person banquo .So he made a plan and told to Lady macbeth.So in different stages we see How the personaliry of macbeth changes from hero to villian and his downfall become because of his own evil deeds.so we can conclude that macbet is a kind of tragic hero.

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user6171003 | College Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM (Answer #102)

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Macbeth can be truly classified as a tragic hero after interpreting Aristotle's definition and applying it to Macbeth's character. Throughout the play, Macbeth is seen as an out of control ranging mad man that is out to achieve his grievous self indulging ambitions. In the long run he struggles, but cannot fight the inevitability of his demise.

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user6171003 | College Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM (Answer #103)

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Macbeth's character progressed through the drama, starting as an ambitious, insecure, yet promising individual for King Duncan, and the entire country of Scotland. He is recently appointed to the position of Thane of Cawdor, and is given recognition for his bravery on the battlefield. It is first the witches' prophecies that taint Macbeth's mind with the desire for power. This prediction is the root of all of Macbeth's evil

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Chonneybrah12324541 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:34 AM (Answer #106)

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McBef iz ay trew hereoh becoze he fawt in tha batle 2 protecht tha keengdem 

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