Homework Help

Why is Macbeth a tragedy?

user profile pic

rigel | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 23, 2007 at 1:31 PM via web

dislike 4 like

Why is Macbeth a tragedy?

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted November 23, 2007 at 10:23 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

A tragedy is a story in which the main character, usually a hero, is brought to ruin.  The cause of the fall to the hero is often a fatal flaw.  In Macbeth, while the main character, Macbeth, is not a typical hero, he is the main character and he is brought to ruin - his own death - by his fatal flaw which is his blind ambition.  Some argue that Macbeth was a puppet of the witches.  More likely, he is a man with a flaw that the witches were able to see and exploit for their own amusement.  Either way, his flaw may have stayed in check had it not been for the witches and their prophesies so that makes him a somewhat sympathetic character.

Sources:

user profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 25, 2007 at 8:13 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

The tragic hero is made tragic by his fall from heights of power and respect as a result of that flaw, but what makes that flaw and fall tragic is that what makes the man great also brings about his demise. If Macbeth's fatal flaw is his ambition, then we need to remember too that ambition made him a great man, that ambition caused him to be the great warrior he was.  In fact, I would argue that his tragic flaw is his courage, which in battle was ruthless, but in life outside of war has no place, and the same reckless courage of war becomes something else all together off the battlefield. In many ways this play questions issues of gender, including the role of violence and courage in relation to manhood. Understanding courage as part of Macbeth's fatal flaw corresponds to that theme.

Sources:

user profile pic

rubyy | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 25, 2008 at 4:22 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

According to Aristotle, tragedy means the rise and the fall of a man. Macbeth is a tragedy, because in the first scene, he was referred as 'for brave Macbeth'. after the encounter with the weird sisters, he commenced to possess a hunger for power. Therefore, the role of Macbeth brings tragic incidents to numerous characters.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes