How is Macbeth a tragic hero?The hero's flaw is a one-sidedness, a predisposition in some particular direction, a total incapacity. In certain cirumstances, of resisting the force which is drawing...

How is Macbeth a tragic hero?

The hero's flaw is a one-sidedness, a predisposition in some particular direction, a total incapacity. In certain cirumstances, of resisting the force which is drawing him in the direction(the fundamental tragic fate).

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

This question is one that divides critics. A tragic hero is a person who is basically good but has a weakness, a flaw, that prevents him from achieving or maintaining greatness. You would need

Some critics believe that Macbeth is a tragic hero because when the play opens, Macbeth is a brave and valiant soldier who is loyal to King Duncan. He has proven himself in battle, and the king rewards him for his service. The tragedy is that Macbeth isn't able to fight the forces of evil. These critics believe that Macbeth was led down the wrong path by the weird sisters and Lady Macbeth.

Other critics feel Macbeth simply has no morals. All it takes for him to become a killer and a traitor are the predictions made by the weird sisters and the coaxing of his wife. After that, Macbeth is willing to kill anyone who stands in his way, including his best friend and Macduff's wife and child. He doesn't seem to care when he's told that Lady Macbeth is dead. Macbeth is consumed by his desire for power and doesn't let anything or anyone stop him. This is more than a tragic flaw, according to these critics. They feel Macbeth is evil.

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danylyshen | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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MacBeth is a tragic hero because of the following:

1. He occupies a high station at the beginning of the play and "falls" by the end of it.

2. Macbeth is a soldier, a general, and acts through "orders." Macbeth was "ordered" by his wife to go through with this business and even the witches' prophecies are a kind of suggestion to one who more capable of action and not reflective thought.

3. MacBeth seems incapable of resisting his wife's argumentation on whether or not he should kill a King and commit regicide.

4. Macbeth seems incapable of resisting the suggestions of the witches and their promises of power and glory. Macbeth should  resist the power of "vaulting ambition" but he doesn't and once he is "stepped so far in blood" he cannot get out of it.

5. Toward the end of Macbeth, before the attack on Dunnsinane and after Lady Macbeth's suicide, he is incapable of pity, remorse, or anything resembling normal human pain and suffering. In his "tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" soliloquy he is completely nihilistic, cold, unfeeling, and a shell of his former self.

Look up "tragic hero" and "Macbeth" and you should find further information you could use in answering the question.

Good luck!

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ill | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

thank you so much!!

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