Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Tragedy In Macbeth

The tragedy of Macbeth: What is a tragedy? How does Shakespeare use tragedy in Macbeth? Give examples. Is it an effective way of telling the story?

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In literature, a tragedy is a type of story is that is serious and focuses on the "series of misfortunes" experienced by the main character which leads to a "final catastrophe." (See the first reference link provided).

Using this definition, we can see that it applies to Macbeth. After hearing the prophecies, for example, Macbeth puts into an action a plan to make himself the king of Scotland. After murdering King Duncan, however, Macbeth experiences a number of misfortunes which lead to his own demise on the battlefield. For Macbeth, these misfortunes are often linked to the deterioration of his mental state. He experiences paranoia, for instance, and a number of hallucinations.

By telling the story in this way, Shakespeare sends an important moral message to the reader in which he warns against the danger of excessive and unchecked ambition. Moreover, through Macbeth's mental suffering (and that of Lady Macbeth), Shakespeare shows the that their actions had very serious consequences.

Tragedy,...

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