In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, I need help finding a tragedy, using lines from the book, and then explaining how it is a tragedy. I also need help finding a tragic hero, using lines...

In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, I need help finding a tragedy, using lines from the book, and then explaining how it is a tragedy.

I also need help finding a tragic hero, using lines from the book, and then explaining how it is a tragic hero.

Finally, I need help finding a tragic flaw, using lines from the book, and then explaining how it is a tragic flaw.

Thanks for the help in advance!!

Asked on by cassie606

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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1. The question is asking for a tragedy? The entire play of Macbeth is a tragedy. Perhaps the statement of the renowned Shakespearean critic Harold Bloom may serve to answer this question. Macbeth is "a tragedy of the imagination." As support for this statement, there are lines that convey Macbeth's tragic descent into the horror of his own imaginings--"Nothing is what is not" (1.3). Macbeth is barely aware of a desire or an ambition before he sees himself as already having performed the act. For instance, after the three witches hail him as Thane of Cawdor and then tell him he will be king, Macbeth reveals his thoughts in an aside:

                           I am Thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion* 
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs. (1.3.137-140) 

                          [suggestion=the thought of killing King Duncan]  

So, he already imagines himself killing Duncan in order to become king. This tragedy of his imagination leads Macbeth into his madness as he sees ghosts and is tortured by his paranoia that someone else will take the crown from him once he does become king. This paranoia and fear lead to Macbeth's tragic death as he rushes out to the moving forest and is killed by Malcolm.

2. Macbeth is initially a hero, but he becomes a hero-villain as he turns down a path of murderous activity. He is tragic because he allows his ambition and imaginings to control him. 
An example of his heroism is found in Act I, Scene 2 as the sergeant describes the bravery and valor of Macbeth in battle:

For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor’s minion carved out his passage....
Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops,
And fixed his head upon our battlements. (2.1.15-23)
Macbeth impelled by his tragic flaw of "vaulting ambition" and his imaginings lead him to murderous acts. For instance, after Macbeth becomes king, he worries that Banquo, to whom the witches promised that his sons would be kings, will threaten his reign as king. So, in his driving ambition to remain king, he decides to have Banquo killed as well as his son Fleance. Therefore, in Act III, Scene 1, he speaks to two of his henchmen, telling them Banquo is their enemy and contracting with them to kill Banquo:
The moment on ’t; for ’t must be done tonight,
And something from the palace; always thought
That I require a clearness. And with him—
To leave no rubs nor botches in the work—
Fleance, his son, that keeps him company, (3.1.136-140)
However, after the murder of Banquo, Fleance manages to escape. Further, in his paranoia Macbeth fears that something or someone will retaliate against him. This fear and horror at his terrible acts leads Macbeth to see the ghost of Banquo, making him all the more tragic. 
 
3. Macbeth's tragic flaw is his inordinate ambition. In the seventh scene of Act I, Macbeth and his wife have decided that it is an opportune occasion for them to kill Duncan while he is a guest at their castle. But, Macbeth has some misgivings about murdering his king as he worries that there may be consequences. Added to this, Duncan is his kinsman and has been a good ruler. 
If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly. If th'assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With its surcease, success....(1.7.1-4)
 
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. 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....(1.7.13-19)
                                 I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
falls on th'other--(1.7.25-28) 
Macbeth's inordinate ambition is a tragic flaw because it leads to his moral destruction and death because although he has murdered Duncan and Banquo, he is still fearful that someone else may threaten his kingship. He has been so murderous and tyrannical that Malcolm returns to assassinate him.
 
Additional Source: Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human.                            New York: Riverhead Books, 1998. Print.
Sources:

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