Write a brief evaluation of Macbeth as a typical tragic hero. Do you think he is an otherwise noble figure with one tragic flaw, or do you find him less noble overall than a tragic hero should be?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A tragic hero is traditionally a protagonist or antagonist of noble birth with heroic qualities who is fated by some supernatural force to fail or endure extreme suffering. This suffering can create sympathy from the audience for the tragic hero. A tragic hero also has a personality flaw that results in the character's downfall. Throughout the play, Macbeth would be considered a typical tragic hero. He is initially the Thane of Glamis and a noble warrior, who valiantly serves King Duncan. Following his brave exploits in battle, Macbeth earns the title, "Thane of Cawdor," which was prophesied by the witches. Macbeth is misguided by the Three Witches and encouraged to commit regicide by his wife. The audience initially sympathizes with Macbeth because he is persuaded by his malevolent, ambitious wife to murder King Duncan. Macbeth is quickly manipulated by his wife after he initially rejects the thought of murdering King Duncan. Macbeth's immediate feelings of guilt following his crime also reveal his conscience. Macbeth then begins to hallucinate and see his friend's ghost after Banquo is assassinated. Similar to many tragic heroes, Macbeth also has a tragic flaw, in his case, unchecked ambition. In every aspect, Macbeth meets the criteria of a typical tragic hero. In my opinion, Macbeth is a noble individual with one tragic flaw. Unfortunately, he is manipulated by his wife into murdering King Duncan.