One of the qualities of a tragic hero is his hamartia, or tragic flaw. I would argue that Macbeth's tragic flaw is his overreaching ambitions to become king, despite the fact that King Duncan is a good ruler. Macbeth acknowledges this:
Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off.... (I.vii.16-20)
At the end of this same scene, however, Macbeth is determined to "bend up / Each corporal agent to this terrible feat" (I.vii.89-90). This reach for the kingship grows with each murder Macbeth commits.
Another characteristic of a tragic hero is hubris, or excessive pride. As the forces of his enemies surround him, Macbeth tells them, "I have almost forgot the taste of fears" (V.v.10). Macbeth has believed so exclusively in the prophesies that he has stopped considering that his own ambitious quest could fail.
A tragic hero also experiences anagnorisis , or an...
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