How does Macbeth show more than one tragic flaw in Act 4?Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Act IV of Macbeth opens with the witches conjuring both a literal and a figurative "hell-broth broil."  (1) No longer capable of rational judgments or being able to discriminate good from evil in his paranoia and (2) "vaulting ambition," Macbeth believes what the witches tell him if it serves his purposes, since for Macbeth, now "fair is foul and foul is fair."  So, he takes the advice of the second witch who tells him to be "bloody, bold, and resolute!" by sending his murderers to kill Macduff's family and him in order to ensure that the bloodline of Duncan be arrested. Furthering his paranoia, the show of eight kings and Banquo with a glass in his hand cause Macbeth's blurring of the lines between reality and sinister forces. He believes that he must eradicate the entire family of Macduff. At this point, the paranoic Macbeth begins to lose control as the pointless death of Lady Macduff and her son underscore his loss of any control as well as his descent into evil.

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