If Macbeth was totally and completely ruined, why is he still considered a hero in Shakespeare's Macbeth?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth is still considered a hero even though he was ruined because he is a tragic hero, not a hero in the general sense of the word.  A tragic hero, then, is someone who is fundamentally great but has a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall.  Shakespeare is a master at creating the tragic hero.  Macbeth is a perfect example.  Macbeth is truly a great man, a renowned military leader as well as someone aspiring to hold an even higher ranking position.  In fact, if Macbeth didn't have a tragic flaw, he probably would have kept progressing up the ranks quite nicely.  Unfortunately, Macbeth has the flaw of "vaulting ambition," which he himself talks about in the play.  It's always a fun argument as to why Macbeth's ambition is "activated," so to speak.  Some critics point to the witches as the main reason Macbeth's flaw is beckoned.  Some point to Lady Macbeth as the main culprit:  the one who convinces Macbeth to do the bloody deed of killing Duncan.  Some point only to Macbeth himself: he is the one who did the deed; therefore, he alone gets the blame.  Either way, Macbeth was a good man with a tragic flaw that led to his ultimate downfall and death by the end of Shakespeare's play.

richardnmor | Student

Macbeth is not a hero in the play. He is a victim of his own character flaws. His pride and lust for power lead to his downfall. If anything, Macbeth is to be pitied for not questioning more carefully the "prophesies" the three sisters made. His saving grace is his sense of guilt, which is defeated by denial (driven by his pride and lust for power).

surajverma8 | Student

William Shakespeare is an outstanding dramatist who had used the principles of" Poetics" by Aristotle.In Poetics, Aristotle describes about the character of a hero. Hero should be related to aristocratic society so that his downnfall might teach a lesson to others.

Of course, Macbeth is ruined completely, but he is the character to whom the plot revolves. Really he is central figure of the drama.

At last but not least, he is a good warrior and commonder but his over ambitions are responsible for his downfall.

Abopve all, he is the hero of the drama,Macbeth.