What quotes show Macbeth is a tragic hero?



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mr-robitaille's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

In order for a character to be considered a tragic hero, some basic criteria need to be met. First, he must come from a noble background. This is true of Macbeth, who distinguishes himself in battle before he even makes his first appearance on stage. Macbeth's valor causes King Duncan to exclaim of him: "O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!" (1.2.26).

Second, a tragic hero must suffer a tragic flaw. Macbeth's is his ambition. This is exemplified in Act I, scene 4, when Macbeth contemplates murdering King Duncan: "Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires."

Finally, a tragic hero must undergo a tragedy. Macbeth certainly does; he suffers the loss of his wife, his ill gotten kingdom, and his life. The totality of his downfall is clear in his last words, found in Act V, scene 8:

I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
And to be baited with the rabble's curse.
Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield! Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!”

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