Would Lady Macbeth be considered a tragic hero?

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According to the standards established by Aristotle in the Poetics, Macbeth himself does not qualify as a tragic hero. His villainy goes well beyond a tragic flaw or hamartia, breaking with the convention that the tragic hero's downfall should not be altogether his own fault. It may be argued that Macbeth's crimes are not necessarily those of his wife. Lady Macbeth is clearly complicit in the murder of Duncan and may be regarded as the driving force behind it, but it is Macbeth who actually commits the regicide. We do not know how much, if any, guilt Lady Macbeth bears for the murders of Banquo and Macduff's family. However, these points raise an even more compelling objection to Lady Macbeth's being considered a tragic hero. The tragic hero should normally be the protagonist of the play and certainly cannot be a mere sidekick. If Lady Macbeth is merely accessory to her husband's crimes then she clearly is not a tragic hero.

Though Lady Macbeth is not a tragic hero by Aristotelian standards, it is...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 13, 2020