Describe Macbeth's character defect and how it caused his eventual death? Who is more responsible for this downfall- Macbeth or Lady Macbeth?
if a character defect is a tragic flaw that causes the downfall of the main character, what is Macbeth's?
You can argue it in both ways. If you believe that Lady MacBeth is the cause of her husband’s downfall then you can say that it was intimidation through emasculation. She does say “Unsex me here” which means that she wants to become masculine in order to have the qualities that MacBeth should have and taunts him about it. If you think it’s completely MacBeth’s undoing then you can argue it’s because he was overly ambitious which resulted from his paranoia and fear of someone over throwing him (A seed that’s planted in his mind by the three witches) and caused the deaths of Banquo and MacDuff’s entire family.
So I guess to answer the first part of your question it would be this: MacBeth is overly ambitious – That’s his tragic flaw. He murders and kills in order to maintain his position as king and to continue to feed his ambition.
Ambition is the most common response when asked the question "What is MacBeth's tragic flaw?". I would have to add another flaw that is equally important. When looking through and reading The Tragedy of MacBeth, you cannot deny the importance of prophecy and fate. Nor can you ignore the influence both have on MacBeth. I would have to say that another great flaw of MacBeth's is his reliance on prophecy to dictate who he is and what he does. His refusal to make decisions guided by his own judgement but instead guided by prophecy is one of his biggest flaws.