How is Macbeth a tragic hero?

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Macbeth is a tragic hero because he starts the play as a good man who is loyal to the king, but he then succumbs to moral corruption by giving in to his ambitious desire to become king himself. He puts his faith in the prophecies of the three witches, betrays his former friends, and commits murder in a quest for power that leads to his downfall by the end of the play.

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Macbeth is a tragic hero because he started the play as a good man, but the manipulations of the Weird Sisters and his wife brought out his baser qualities. This leads to Macbeth's moral corruption and downfall by the play's end.  

It is clear Macbeth begins the play...

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as a loyal friend and decent man.  When the Captain speaks about the battle, Macbeth is described as "brave," even as "Valor's minion" (Act I, Scene 2, lines 18, 21).  As a result of Macbeth's great loyalty and service to the crown, Duncan describes him as "valiant" and "worthy" (Act I, Scene 2, line 26).  In addition, Macbeth's wife, the person who would likely know him best, describes him as "full o' th' milk of human kindness" (Act I, Scene 5, line 17).  Macbeth tries to get out of the plan to kill Duncan, telling Lady Macbeth, "We will proceed no further in this business" because his own ambition is not enough to compel him to murder his friend, kinsman, and king (Act I, Scene 7, line 34).

It is not until Lady Macbeth insults Macbeth's pride, deftly manipulating him to do what she wants, that he finally truly commits to their plan.  Lady Macbeth insults her husband's masculinity, calling him a "coward" and saying that, when Macbeth is willing to murder the king, "then [he will be] a man," implying Macbeth wouldn't really be a man unless he goes forward with their plan (Act I, Scene 7, lines 47, 56).

None of this would even be an issue, however, had the Weird Sisters not tried to manipulate Macbeth with their "prophecies."  They say, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," meaning that good things will look bad and bad things will look good, implying their "prophecies" to Macbeth will seem wonderful but will really lead to terrible consequences (Act I, Scene 1, line 12).  Hecate says she will conjure up "artificial sprites" that will "draw him on to his confusion" (Act III, Scene 5, lines 27, 29); she intends to deceive Macbeth and lead him to his destruction.  Had Macbeth never been subjected to the manipulations of the witches and his wife, he would likely spend his final years peacefully in Glamis or Cawdor.  Instead, before his death, Macbeth finds himself without love, morally bankrupt, loathed by all, and with a name now synonymous with tyranny.

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The character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a perfect example of a tragic hero.

A tragic hero is supposed to have a high noble status. Macbeth is shown to be a warrior, and someone very loyal to the king. Just as the play opens, we we are made aware of Macbeth’s heroic status because of the battle he fights and wins so courageously.

A tragic hero has to have a "tragic" flaw, i.e. Hamartia and this tragic flaw causes destruction of the character’s nobleness and ultimately leads to his downfall, even death. Macbeth grows excessively hungry for power. And this over ambitiousness in him is actually a reason for his fall. Because of the prophecies of the witches about him, he starts strongly desiring to become the king. He doesn't think of the consequences. He grows from a brave, morally strong human being to a violent, evil one. Macbeth kills King Duncan, and several others like (Macduff's wife and child, Banquo) just for power. Besides these, after gaining the throne, Macbeth becomes overly proud. He thinks he has got it all and nothing can destroy his power now. This is also a major flaw, extreme pride or Hubris. Macbeth cannot have redemption. And he dies in the end.

Like a tragic hero, Macbeth does not die unaware of the cause of his destruction, i.e. he realizes that he himself is to be blamed for all of it. But he accepts this and chooses not to be a coward, although he knows that as per the witches’ prophecies, he will die in the war. He shows courage in the end, and so, in this way, Macbeth dies as a hero.

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Macbeth is considered a tragic hero because, despite the apparently predestined nature of what transpires in the play, he is nevertheless responsible for his own actions. True, the witches "proclaim" his becoming King -- and he does! But throughout the play, Shakespeare artistically and artfully has Macbeth realize the crime he is contemplating --the murder of King Duncan. He has, says Macbeth, been the epitome of gentleness; kind and generous to him. Nothing justifies the assassination.

Yet Lady Macbeth concludes at once that the murder is necessary. Macbeth agrees but is not willing to kill the king.  He has a conscience, but his wife seems to be completely bereft of it. Together, they plot the murder and Macbeth kills the king.

Everything goes downhill after that. Muder begets more murders; lies beget lies. "Naughts are all spent/Where our desire's got without content," says Lady Macbeth.

What Shakespeare does, with great artistry and humanity, is give Macbeth a free will. Life will have its propositions, even temptations. But a person, especially one with the social stature of Macbeth, is expected to weigh the good with the bad. Never in the play does he once doubt the sin he was about to commit. But his ambition, spurred on by the witches and his wife, came to be his downfall.

Macbeth is a tragic hero because he exhibits all the characteristics of a tragic hero of the Elizabethan age: a person from a noble family, basically good, but, plagued by his ambition, ends up committing a henious act, bringing about his own downfall, filling us, his audience and readers, with pity and terror.

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A tragic hero is "a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat". Macbeth fits that definition perfectly. At the onset of the play, we see Macbeth victorious in the battlefield. The warriors with Macbeth praise him on the battlefield.  King Duncan hears about Macbeth’s bravery and awards Macbeth the title Thane of Cawdor after the previous Thane had committed treason. In other words, it seems as if Macbeth is destined for great things…all on his own merit.

Yet, once the witches appear to Macbeth and Banquo, Macbeth wants to take matters into his own hands. He gets in his own way. Aristotle’s concept of hamartia is evident here. Macbeth makes a miscalculation. He wants to rise to the top through wrongdoing which of course makes him a tragic hero. Also, hubris is at work here as well. Macbeth has overwhelming pride and, this too, leads to his downfall. He thinks he is greater than all others as he is gullible and believes the witches’ prophesies. They are there to lead him down a path of destruction, and he willingly follows to gain success.  He will stop at nothing to attain the kingship. Of course, all of this actually leads to his demise making his one of the most tragic heroes in British Literature.

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Macbeth is a tragic hero because he meets three of the four criteria as outlined by Aristotle.

According to Aristotle in the Poetics, the following characteristics are representative of a tragic hero:

1. The tragic hero is a character of noble stature and has greatness. This should be readily evident in the play. The character must occupy a "high" status position but must ALSO embody nobility and virtue as part of his/her innate character.

In Macbeth, Macbeth can be seen as a tragic hero based upon this characteristic. He does occupy a high status and, initially, embodies virtue.

2. Though the tragic hero is pre-eminently great, he/she is not perfect. Otherwise, the rest of us--mere mortals--would be unable to identify with the tragic hero. We should see in him or her someone who is essentially like us, although perhaps elevated to a higher position in society.

Another characterisitc where Macbeth falls into that of a tragic hero is #2: many other characters see him as great- higher than the typical character in the Macbeth society.

3. The hero's downfall, therefore, is partially her/his own fault, the result of free choice, not of accident or villainy or some overriding, malignant fate. In fact, the tragedy is usually triggered by some error of judgment or some character flaw that contributes to the hero's lack of perfection noted above. This error of judgment or character flaw is known as hamartia and is usually translated as "tragic flaw.

Again, Macbeth meets this criteria of the tragic hero. His downfall is his own fault. While some may argue that others were potentially responsible (the witches and Lady Macbeth), he ultimately made the final decisions regarding his actions.

4. The hero's misfortunate is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime.

Here is where Macbeth parts from the typical tragic hero. Macbeth, is eye for an eye is believed, deserved his outcome. His punishment (he is killed) does not exceed his crime (murder).

While some may argue that Macbeth is not a Tragic Hero, based upon Aristotle's definition, he meets three out of four requirements.

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A tragic hero is a person of noble birth with heroic or potentially heroic qualities. Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. He seems fated by the Gods or by some supernatural forces to doom and destruction or at least to great suffering. This tragic drama involves choices or free will and results in a paradox,is it Fate or Free Will which is primarily responsible for the suffering in the hero's life? Though fated the hero makes choices that bring about his destruction. In addition, tragic drama usually reveals the hero's true identity. The hero's suffering, however, is not gratuitous because through great suffering the hero is enlightened. Such heroes learn about themselves and their place in the universe. Pride is chastened. Though destroyed the hero is at peace intellectually. Many factors contribute to Macbeth’s description as a tragic hero. The prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth's judgment, and finally Macbeth's long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth's growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual. Exploring to a greater extent these ideas that lead to a tragic hero should help you.

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Macbeth is something of a tragic hero because at times he seems a victim of preordained fate. Though he is definitely guilty of pride and greed, there is a certain doom implied in the witches' prophecies. When Macbeth goes to the "weird sisters" demanding a prophesy, they answer his demands by showing him the future, but in a cryptic way.

The first appartaion is that of an armed head, which warns thim to "beware Macduff,", the second is a bloody child who eerily says that "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"; the third is a crowned child who says Macbeth will be safe until "Birnam Wood moves against him."

In Act V, Macbeth is told that Birnam Wood *is* moving against him, his Queen has taken her own life, and lastly, Macduff informs him that he is not of "woman born" but was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd."

Macbeth falls to Macduff's sword, beheaded. A tragedy, indeed.

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A tragic hero is a man (usually) of heroic qualities, generally a good person, who is brought low by his own error in judgment. We, the audience, are meant to pity him (and presumably learn from him). 

Macbeth is a tragic hero because, as the Thane of Glamis, he is a noble man, a great warrior, proven in battle and admired and appreciated by his king (Duncan). In the opening scene, before we've even met him, the sergeant fresh from the battle tells Duncan that the rebel Macdonwald was faced down by "brave Macbeth" who "disdain[ed] fortune"--not caring whether he lived or died in the fray--"like valour's minion" hacked his way through the soldiers until he found Macdonwald and wordlessly unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps." Malcolm praises him for being valiant, and the sergeant adds that after Macdonwald's men fled, the Norwegian lord with whom he was allied, having fresh men and supplies, renewed the attack, but Macbeth was not dismayed; instead, he and Banquo doubled their efforts and waded into the battle. We see him being absolutely fearless in the protection of his king and his king's lands. He is noble and loyal. 

When Macbeth learns from the witches that he is to be Thane of Cawdor (defeated in the battle he himself is fresh from) and "king hereafter," he does not believe it until Ross addresses him as Thane of Cawdor. At this point, Macbeth is excited and frightened, because he doesn't understand what it means. He admits that it seems like it's a good thing to have the first prophesy come true, then says: 

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,
Against the use of nature? (I.3.)

He's already considering, deep down, what he might do next to become "king hereafter," but he knows it's unnatural and wrong. 

When Duncan greets him and says he cannot thank him enough, Macbeth responds: 

The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part
Is to receive our duties; and our duties
Are to your throne and state children and servants,
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
Safe toward your love and honour. (I.4.24-9)

In so many words, he graciously tells the king that he and Banquo simply did their duty, and we have no reason to question his sincerity. 

His first mistake is to tell his wife, via a letter, the Weird Sisters' prophesy. Lady Macbeth admits: 

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou'ldst have, great Glamis,
That which cries 'Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
And that which rather thou dost fear to do
Than wishest should be undone.' (I.5.15-25)

In other words, He is Thane of Glamis and now Thane of Cawdor, and (if she has her way), he will be king (what he is promised). But, she admits up front that he is "too full of the milk of human kindness" to "catch the nearest way" (i.e., do it the easy way). She knows he is not the kind of man to cheat his way to the throne; the only way he would take is the holy path. Thus, she confirms that he is a good man, worthy of the honors heaped upon him. 

Of course, Lady Macbeth has no such compunctions. She already knows she'll have to talk him into "catching the nearest way" by "chastising with the valour of [her] tongue." 

In the beginning of I.7, Macbeth--having had the idea of murder planted in his head by his ambitious wife--muses about the consequences of it. He decides that he will not only have to pay for it by going to hell, but that such an action would be known in this life, as well, and he'd have to pay. He realizes that their plans are a "poison'd chalice" which they bring "To [their] own lips," then tells his lady that he will hear no more of the plan. She responds that he must not love her then and accuses him of being a coward. He responds with "Prithee, peace: / I dare do all that may become a man; / Who dares do more is none." 

His weakness, then--or "tragic flaw," if you will--is the perception of others regarding his manhood. She sees this and accuses him not not being a man if he goes back on his vow to kill Duncan (a vow he did not make, incidentally). 

He fears his own mental illness on the way to murder Duncan, but driven by his wife's insistence, goes and murders the king, re-emerging with the bloody dagger still in his hand. Lady Macbeth meets him and finds him troubled, complaining of hearing voices, and learns he has not "finished the deed"--that is, murdered the grooms, as well, and "gilded their faces" with Duncan's blood, to put the blame on them. Macbeth is too shook up to go back into the chamber, demonstrating that he is still the same man he was, regretting his deeds and now afraid for his soul, so Lady Macbeth does it for him. 

He's begun his downward slide, so when Banquo muses to himself in III.1, "Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all, / As the weird women promised, and, I fear, / Thou play'dst most foully for't," then tells Macbeth he must leave immediately, Macbeth realizes Banquo is onto him and must be silenced. He also is angry, now that the witches' prophesy is coming true, that Banquo is promised a line of kings while Macbeth himself will wear "a fruitless crown," and thus sends out two murderers to finish off Banquo. He admits to his wife that his mind is "full of scorpions"; he fears now the truth that everyone might see. 

He is subsequently haunted by the ghost of his now-murdered friend, and plagued with fear of being found out. In III.4, he has come to fear what Macduff may think, as well, and makes plans to return to the weird sisters for more guidance: 

And betimes I will, to the weird sisters:
More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,
All causes shall give way: I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er. 

The last lines of this passage is his acceptance that his deeds have led him to the point that he cannot back out of the situation now, so he may as well go on. 

When he goes to the weird sisters, they summon three apparitions which tell him, respectively, that he is to fear Macduff, that no man of woman born can kill him (Macbeth), and that no harm will come to him until Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane. In his pride, he dismisses all of these, considering the last two impossible, thus discounting the first warning altogether. This is his third mistake: forgetting to be the humble servant he should be, even as the crowned king. He has come to see himself as invincible, a mistake in any mortal. 

Thus, pushed by his ambitious wife (and all she had to do was insult his manhood) then full of his own success, he descends from the man of honor and servitude the play began with to a murderer, a man as cold and thoughtless as his wife had claimed to be. In the end, of course, Birnam wood does come to Dunsinane and he is, in fact, killed by a man who "was from his mother's womb untimely ripped," so technically, "not of a woman born." 

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This question is one that divides critics. A tragic hero is a person who is basically good but has a weakness, a flaw, that prevents him from achieving or maintaining greatness. You would need

Some critics believe that Macbeth is a tragic hero because when the play opens, Macbeth is a brave and valiant soldier who is loyal to King Duncan. He has proven himself in battle, and the king rewards him for his service. The tragedy is that Macbeth isn't able to fight the forces of evil. These critics believe that Macbeth was led down the wrong path by the weird sisters and Lady Macbeth.

Other critics feel Macbeth simply has no morals. All it takes for him to become a killer and a traitor are the predictions made by the weird sisters and the coaxing of his wife. After that, Macbeth is willing to kill anyone who stands in his way, including his best friend and Macduff's wife and child. He doesn't seem to care when he's told that Lady Macbeth is dead. Macbeth is consumed by his desire for power and doesn't let anything or anyone stop him. This is more than a tragic flaw, according to these critics. They feel Macbeth is evil.

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MacBeth is a tragic hero because of the following:

1. He occupies a high station at the beginning of the play and "falls" by the end of it.

2. Macbeth is a soldier, a general, and acts through "orders." Macbeth was "ordered" by his wife to go through with this business and even the witches' prophecies are a kind of suggestion to one who more capable of action and not reflective thought.

3. MacBeth seems incapable of resisting his wife's argumentation on whether or not he should kill a King and commit regicide.

4. Macbeth seems incapable of resisting the suggestions of the witches and their promises of power and glory. Macbeth should  resist the power of "vaulting ambition" but he doesn't and once he is "stepped so far in blood" he cannot get out of it.

5. Toward the end of Macbeth, before the attack on Dunnsinane and after Lady Macbeth's suicide, he is incapable of pity, remorse, or anything resembling normal human pain and suffering. In his "tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" soliloquy he is completely nihilistic, cold, unfeeling, and a shell of his former self.

Look up "tragic hero" and "Macbeth" and you should find further information you could use in answering the question.

Good luck!

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Why is Macbeth a tragic hero?

Tragic heroes generally share a group of similar characteristics.  They are as follows:

  1. The character is of higher status or nobility
  2. Although the character is noble and great, the character has to be relatable to an audience
  3. The character is at fault for his/her own downfall.  The downfall is usually triggered because of some character flaw.  Most teachers refer to that flaw as the "tragic flaw."  
  4. The hero's downfall isn't entirely deserved, but the hero does recognize that his downfall was his fault.  

I believe that Macbeth easily fits three of those four characteristics. 

When the play begins, the audience is told that Macbeth is great in two ways.  First he is a member of the ruling class.  He is a thane, which means that he is most definitely not a lowly servant or common foot soldier.  The audience also learns that Macbeth is indeed a great warrior with extreme amounts of bravery.  

For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name--
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements.

I do believe that Macbeth is a relatable character.  I believe that he is relatable, because he is subject to temptation.  The witches prophecy that he will be king some day and that tempts Macbeth greatly.  It would tempt most people.  Even if a person could honestly say that being a king is not tempting, I can guarantee that person has done something dishonest in order to satisfy some kind of temptation.  He's relatable, because he is not perfect.  He's relatable, because he experiences emotions and temptations the way that the rest of the audience does. 

Being not perfect applies to Macbeth's tragic flaw.  His flaw isn't that he can be tempted.  His flaw is that he has unchecked ambition.  For Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the end justifies the means.  He is willing to commit murder in order to obtain a higher status and more power.  He's ambitious to a fault, because his ambition causes him to abandon his morality.  It's Macbeth's ambition that eventually leads to his downfall.  

As for the remaining tragic hero characteristic, I do not feel that Macbeth fits it.  I believe that Macbeth deserves every bit of his punishment and death.  After killing Duncan, Macbeth had several other men killed in order to further secure his place on the throne.  I believe that Macbeth got what he deserved for his murderous acts.  

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Why is Macbeth a tragic hero?

Macbeth's positive and heroic qualities are stressed at the beginning of the play: he is a great warrior and spoken well of by everyone. Up to that point it seems his conduct has been above reproach. However, he has a tragic flaw - he has ambition to become king, and he is unable to resist this ambition, even if it leads him to committing murder. Perhaps the most tragic aspect about his character is that he is all too aware of his own weaknesses and the evil into which he falls, but he allows himself to be persuaded by his even more ambitious wife. However this more or less unhinges him. He hallucinates before and after Duncan's murder and is unable to resist the slide into further depravity, killing, or trying to kill anyone whom he feels might thwart him and his ambitions.But he ends up acting out of sheer desperation at his own fall from grace, he feels that nothing can save him anymore. However at the very end of the play he regains some of his honourable demeanour as a fearless warrior, fighting to the end although he knows all is lost.

  Macbeth is essentially a man of high standing, who however becomes prey to negative external forces (the witches and his wife's aggression) and allows his own weaknesses to overcome him, leading to the ruin of his once-noble nature. His awareness of his own fall is what lends the play its tragic intensity.

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Why is Macbeth a tragic hero?

Shakespeare's tragic heroes have certain circumstances and personal qualities in common. They are all men of power and high social status, well respected by others. However, each has a character flaw--a "fatal flaw"--that leads to his downfall. The tragic hero is unaware of this flaw in his character until it is too late to save himself. Once his destruction becomes obvious, he does not give up; he fights to reverse his fortunes and regain his position. Finally, as the tragic hero is destroyed, Shakespeare gives us a final glimpse of the great man he once was. This reminds us of how far the hero has fallen and emphasizes the tragedy of his destruction.

Macbeth's character is developed precisely according to this model. He is a Scottish general, an extraordinarily loyal, strong and brave supporter of King Duncan. He holds high social position as Thane of Glamis and also becomes Thane of Cawdor, a high honor bestowed upon him by his King. Macbeth is well respected. However, hidden in his character is his fatal flaw, one of ambition. Once his ambition is aroused, he sets out on a path of destruction, murdering Duncan and others who stand in his way or threaten his power. When the tide turns against Macbeth and he is attacked by both Scottish and English armies, he chooses to fight rather than surrender. When he tries to avoid shedding Macduff's blood and acknowledges the sin of the slaughter of Macduff's family, we see some of the goodness that Macbeth used to possess. When Macbeth learns that he is not protected in battle with Macduff, he fights on. Shakespeare shows Macbeth, at the moment of his destruction, fighting as the strong and courageous warrior he once was. The tragedy of Macbeth's life is that a once admirable man became a monster because of the flaw in his own character; he destroyed himself.

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Why is Macbeth a tragedy?

Macbeth fulfills most of the criteria for an Aristotelian tragedy, in which a tragic hero experiences a fall from grace. Macbeth initially appears to be of noble character and occupies a high position in his society. However, he climbs to a still higher position by means of murder and treachery, and by the time Macduff actually kills Macbeth, his death does not seem particularly tragic or pitiable, but rather a blessed release or an instance of poetic justice.

Though Aristotle did not think that the tragic hero should be without flaws, his definition of tragedy in the Poetics also suggests that the fall of the hero should not be solely brought about by his depravity. In this sense, Macbeth perhaps does not quite conform entirely to the Aristotelian definition of tragedy, for Macbeth's downfall stems not from some minor misjudgment or error on his part, but from his descent into wickedness and villainy. With regard to the character of the tragic hero, Renaissance tragedy differs significantly from classical tragedy, and there are various examples in which the hero acts villainously, including Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great and Shakespeare's own Titus Andronicus.

One might regard the central tragedy of Macbeth, the event which arouses pity and terror in the audience, as being not Macbeth's end, but his corruption. This gives rise to other tragic scenes in the play, such as the murder of Banquo and, perhaps most shockingly, the killing of Macduff's young son and wife.

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Why is Macbeth a tragedy?

A tragedy is a drama in which the protagonist has a significant downfall, sometimes a result of what is called a "tragic flaw." It is distinguished from the comedy in that it does not have a "happy" or amusing ending. The protagonist's life is usually significantly changed for the worse.

Macbeth is a tragedy because the protagonist becomes enslaved to his own greed for power, then by his own paranoid need to keep the power he has gained. He destroys the lives of those around him, before finally losing his own life. Throughout, he realizes that he has gone down the wrong road, but he is so caught up in fate that he cannot change.

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Why is Macbeth a tragedy?

The tragic hero is made tragic by his fall from heights of power and respect as a result of that flaw, but what makes that flaw and fall tragic is that what makes the man great also brings about his demise. If Macbeth's fatal flaw is his ambition, then we need to remember too that ambition made him a great man, that ambition caused him to be the great warrior he was.  In fact, I would argue that his tragic flaw is his courage, which in battle was ruthless, but in life outside of war has no place, and the same reckless courage of war becomes something else all together off the battlefield. In many ways this play questions issues of gender, including the role of violence and courage in relation to manhood. Understanding courage as part of Macbeth's fatal flaw corresponds to that theme.

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Why is Macbeth a tragedy?

A tragedy is a story in which the main character, usually a hero, is brought to ruin.  The cause of the fall to the hero is often a fatal flaw.  In Macbeth, while the main character, Macbeth, is not a typical hero, he is the main character and he is brought to ruin - his own death - by his fatal flaw which is his blind ambition.  Some argue that Macbeth was a puppet of the witches.  More likely, he is a man with a flaw that the witches were able to see and exploit for their own amusement.  Either way, his flaw may have stayed in check had it not been for the witches and their prophesies so that makes him a somewhat sympathetic character.

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Is Macbeth a villain or tragic hero?

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's tragic heroes in that his character follows the model of Shakespeare's other tragic heroes. He is an admirable, powerful, and well respected member of his society, a society in which he occupies a high position. (This can also be said of King Lear, Brutus, and Hamlet, for example.) Like these other tragic heroes, Macbeth's character is flawed, and it is this character flaw that leads to his destruction. Macbeth, like Shakespeare's other tragic heroes, is ultimately responsible for his own destruction. 

The nature of Macbeth's fall is epic. From his former position of great respect and admiration, he descends--step by step--until he becomes even more than a villain; he becomes a monster. I've often wondered why Shakespeare makes Macbeth  so thoroughly detestable among his tragic heroes. I think the answer lies in Macbeth's crime (regicide) and the English political structure of Shakespeare's time (monarchy). The play develops a very strong statement about killing one's king out of political ambition. 

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Is Macbeth a villain or tragic hero?

The question of whether Macbeth is a villain or a tragic hero is a difficult question, and one which depends on how one understands the character.  One popular argument about the play is that it charts Macbeth's fall from heroism into villainy.  At the opening of the play, Macbeth demonstrates a fair amount of heroism.  He has fought bravely and been loyal to his king.  He embodies nobility and seems to possess virtue.  He also possesses certain characteristics that we might associate with a tragic hero, in particular a fatal flaw.  In the case of Macbeth, that fatal flaw is his ambition for power.  Macbeth, however, quickly becomes something of a villainous character.  He commits murder and puts his entire kingdom in danger.  Still, many of his evil acts are committed while he is under the influence of the Weird Sisters and Lady Macbeth, who are often considered to be the true villains of the play.  At the end of the play, Macbeth realizes the evil he has committed and seems to feel sorrow for such.  Because of this realization Macbeth is often viewed as a tragic hero, for tragic heroes almost always recognize the errors they have committed by the end of their stories and seek, in some manner, to atone for them. 

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How does Shakespeare portray Macbeth as a hero or a tragic hero?

In light of all the terrible acts Macbeth commits during the play, it's easy to forget that he is actually a tragic hero. Indeed, before he begins murdering his way to the throne of Scotland, Macbeth is a widely respected and admired warrior renowned for his bravery in battle. For an example of this heroism, take a look at this speech from a sergeant in the Scottish army during Act 1, Scene 2:

For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave,
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements. (18-25)

In this excerpt, the sergeant recounts Macbeth's prowess on the battlefield, focusing especially on Macbeth's battle with and defeat of the rebel Macdonwald. Based on this testimony, it's plain that Macbeth begins the play as an honorable hero worthy of the admiration that he receives. Shakespeare's portrayal of him as a tragic hero, therefore, relies on the disintegration of Macbeth's character throughout the course of the rest of the play. Indeed, by the time Macduff kills Macbeth, we've forgotten that the Scottish king was ever considered a hero, as his evil acts have entirely eclipsed his former bravery. It's this fact that truly makes Macbeth a true tragic hero. 

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Would Lady Macbeth be considered a tragic hero?

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 worth noting that the same is true of several heroes in Greek tragedy. There is one tragic protagonist in particular who bears some resemblance to Lady Macbeth. This is Euripides's Medea, whose ferocious vengeance is more than a match for Lady Macbeth's white-hot ambition. Medea, however, is a more frightening character than Lady Macbeth, since she actually murders her children. Lady Macbeth only considers that act hypothetically, and then as a terrible alternative to oath-breaking. This means that, although not a tragic hero, Lady Macbeth is similar to, and less culpable than, the protagonist of at least one extant Greek tragedy.

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Would Lady Macbeth be considered a tragic hero?

The standard definition of a tragic hero is someone fundamentally virtuous and noble, yet brought low by a fatal character flaw. It's fair to say that Lady Macbeth doesn't really measure up to this standard. On the contrary, she shows herself to be a devious, power-crazed individual who's so eaten up by ambition that she's prepared to arrange a savage, treacherous act of murder.

Lady Macbeth only really seems virtuous by comparison with her husband, who unilaterally embarks upon a campaign of vicious slaughter after he's safely ensconced on the throne. And even then, it could reasonably be said that Lady Macbeth is the Frankenstein to her husband's monster. She, more than anyone, helped to create this cold-hearted killer--constantly cajoling him, questioning his manhood, goading him on to murder Duncan. No wonder she can't seem to get the blood off her hands; she's in it up to her neck.

Even her later expressions of guilt ring a tad hollow. There's a suggestion that her mental breakdown is related to her loss of power and influence over Macbeth, rather than constituting an expression of genuine remorse. Because as soon as her husband ascends the throne, Lady Macbeth becomes marginalized. She's more responsible than anyone for helping Macbeth become king, yet having achieved his overriding ambition, he no longer has any need for his wife's guidance and advice. Without any kind of role in the cutthroat world of high politics, Lady Macbeth has nowhere to go, and so her mind starts to cave in on itself. There's nothing vaguely tragic about this; on the contrary, it's a prime example of poetic justice.

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Would Lady Macbeth be considered a tragic hero?

A tragic hero should only have one flaw. Lady Macbeth has too many flaws to be considered a tragic hero (or heroine). She is not only ambitious but unscrupulous, dishonest, deceitful, and manipulative. There is nothing to admire about her. In one scene she tells her henpecked husband, "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it." This is her philosophy.The audience might pity her at the end when she seems to be eaten up with guilt and to be experiencing a nervous breakdown, but at the same time they would probably be glad to see her getting just what she deserves. She is a wicked woman, and therefore she should not be considered tragic or heroic. Her own husband seems indifferent when he is told that she is dead.

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In Macbeth, is Macbeth a tragic hero?

Macbeth is indeed a tragic hero and shares the necessary character traits as defined by Aristotle in his Poetics to be considered a tragic hero. A tragic hero must hail from nobility and occupy a high social status. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis, who is revered for his accomplishments in battle. A tragic hero must also be virtuous, which is something Macbeth initially portrays through his loyalty to King Duncan and his courage in battle.

A tragic hero must also have a tragic flaw, also known as a hamartia, which leads to their demise. In addition to their specific tragic flaw, hubris must also play a role in their downfall. Macbeth's tragic flaw is his vaulting ambition while hubris also plays a role in his demise when he begins to feel invincible after receiving his second set of prophecies.

Macbeth proceeds to make the costly decision to murder King Duncan, which only leads to more murders as Macbeth develops into a bloodthirsty tyrant. Macbeth ends up murdering Banquo and Macduff's entire family as he becomes consumed by cementing his political legacy and killing his opponents. Another important aspect of a tragic hero is that they recognize their own tragic flaw before their death. Macbeth reveals that he is aware of his fate and will never return to his peaceful life before Macduff slays him in the final battle.

The audience must also experience a catharsis, which is an emotional discharge that allows the audience to sympathize with the tragic hero. After Macbeth loses his wife, his moving soliloquy influences the audience to sympathize with him. In act five, scene five, Macbeth says:

"Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." (Shakespeare, 5.5.24-27)

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In Macbeth, is Macbeth a tragic hero?

The classical definition of a tragic hero is someone who is of a high birth, i.e., a king, a prince, a thane as in the Thane of Glamis, which designates Macbeth.

The tragic hero must have a flaw which topples him from his high position.  This is called hubris, excessive pride, which Macbeth has.  There are several factors that work against him and lead him to his downfall---his own ambition, the prophesies, and Lady Macbeth's encouragement.  Ultimately it is his excessive pride that takes him over to the dark side.  He makes a choice, a very bad one.

His pride is hurt when Duncan chooses his still inexperienced son, Malcolm, over him as the next leader of the Scottish people.  On the surface this appears to be a poor choice when a great hero and warrior like Macbeth stands ready to step in.

Lady Macbeth attacks his pride when she attacks his manliness.

Once he kills Duncan, he is forced to keep on killing to protect himself.  His pride will not let him surrender.  He must fight to the end, even when he realizes he cannot win.  He always knew that "...Blood will have blood, they say..."

Macbeth is a good man gone bad seduced by the intoxication of power, so yes, he is a tragic hero.

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In Macbeth, is Macbeth a tragic hero?

Yes, Macbeth is a tragic hero. The definition of a tragic hero is one who is victim of circumstances, despite of its role in the story.

In this case, Macbeth has lots of circumstantial issues going against him: His insecurities, those of his wife, his belief in the predictions of the three witches, and his lack of manhood to stand with courage in front of situations are the obstacles that make him grow weaker and weaker as the play progresses. Eventually, he earns the hatred and distrust of people who once loved and respected him like his killer, Macduff. This is basically what the qualities of a tragic hero are, and he displays them wonderfully.

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In Macbeth, is Macbeth a tragic hero?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Macbeth is absolutely a tragic character, and he is tragic because he is a formerly honorable man whose lust for power leads to his destruction and death. 

Usually, tragedy in literature deals with the desolate or melancholy fate experienced by a hero. In Shakespearean terms, tragedy generally involves the downfall of a king, often as a result of some personal flaw. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth undoubtedly begins as a hero, as he nobly leads his army to victory over the enemies of King Duncan. However, spurred on by his growing ambition, and encouraged by the three mysterious witches, Macbeth embarks on a bloody quest to gain the crown of Scotland and destroy all those who oppose him. Thus, Macbeth is a tragic figure because he is an initially heroic man who meets his downfall at the hands of a personal flaw: his own ambition.  

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Why is Shakespeare's Macbeth a tragic story?

The renowned Shakespearean critic, Harold Bloom, calls Macbeth both a tragedy of the imagination and a tragedy of blood.

According to Aristotle, a tragedy is the imitation in dramatic form of a serious action, expressed in language "enhanced by distinct and varying beauties" with incidents which arouse pity and fear, effecting a catharsis of such emotions. The characters are noble personages, and the plot involves a change in the fortunes of the protagonist as he falls from contentment to misery. 

Certainly, Macbeth conforms to the definition of tragedy.

  • It is written in a dramatic form, expressed with a beauty of language.

Macbeth is replete with dramatic actions, many figures of speech, vivid and even frightening imagery, and stirring soliloquies. One such soliloquy is that spoken by Macbeth in Act V, Scene 5 after learning of his wife's death:

...Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
  •  There are incidents which evoke pity and fear

Macbeth's encounter with the witches evokes fear in both the character of Macbeth and in the audience. The murders of Banquo and others and the demise of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth's descent into evil certainly evoke emotions that include pity and fear.

  • The characters are noble and the plot involves the fortune of the protagonist as he descends into bloody imaginings and a continuing phantasmagoria of blood.

Macbeth's character is noble; he is a great warrior. But his tragic flaw is that of "vaulting ambition" which drives him to murder. Macbeth himself declares that "blood will have blood" and his imaginings lead to murder after murder. Although Macbeth learns that he has violated his noble nature, he refuses to follow Lady Macbeth into madness and suicide, instead dying in battle.

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Why is Shakespeare's Macbeth a tragic story?

At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a hero.  After he is told by three witches that he will be king of Scotland in the future, he takes matters into his own hands and kills the king, Duncan.  He becomes king but must continue to kill in order stay king.  In the end he is killed.

It is a tragedy because we see a good man turn bad.

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Explain Macbeth as a “tragic hero.”

Macbeth is a tragic hero in that he's a fundamentally decent, noble man brought low by a character flaw. At the start of the play, Macbeth has just acquitted himself bravely on the field of battle. More than anyone else, he's responsible for the crushing victory over the Norwegians. King Duncan is so grateful for Macbeth's incredible valor that he rewards him with the title of Thane of Cawdor. Yet somehow this just isn't enough. Macbeth's head has been turned by the Weird Sisters' prophecy, his own ambition, and the machinations of his wife. He realizes that the throne of Scotland is within his grasp if only he can make that final, fateful step and murder Duncan.

But still he has to be persuaded of the rightness of this course of action. This is where the tragic dimension of Macbeth's character comes into play. Treachery and murder are not really a natural part of his personality. He's not an inherently evil man like Richard III, who positively revels in his diabolical wickedness. Macbeth still has a conscience, which is why he always appears so uneasy with the decision to murder Duncan and why he has to be cajoled and manipulated by Lady Macbeth into carrying out the dirty deed.

Even once he's established himself on the throne, Macbeth doesn't exactly luxuriate in his newly won power. He has come to see himself as almost the plaything of supernatural forces. He's a bit player in a gigantic cosmic drama in which the forces of good and evil are engaged in a titanic struggle for supremacy. Although Macbeth becomes more and more like a tyrant, violently lashing out at anyone he perceives as a threat to his rule, we sense that this isn't the real Macbeth, the brave and noble warrior who earned the undying admiration and gratitude of his former king. Instead, this is a man whose very soul has been corrupted by the forces of darkness, whose fatal flaw of ambition has been twisted to serve some very dark and diabolical ends. More than anything else, it is this complete transformation of character, from noble, valiant warlord to cruel and vicious tyrant, that makes Macbeth a tragic hero.

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Is Macbeth a monster or a tragic hero?

Aristotle defined a tragic hero as a character who errs in judgment, the result of some tragic flaw, and this error leads to his own destruction. The tragic hero usually starts from a place of relative goodness, as Macbeth does. He begins the play, described as "brave" and "valiant" (1.2.18, 1.2.26). His wife, arguably the person who knows him best, believes that he is "full o' th' milk of human kindness" (1.5.17). Macbeth's error is murdering his king, cousin, and friend, Duncan, as a result of his own tragic flaw: pride. When he considers his one reason to commit the murder, his "Vaulting ambition," he actually decides to "proceed no further" in the business of killing him (1.7.27, 1.7.34). It isn't until his wife wounds his pride, calling him a "coward" and claiming that she would never be so disloyal as to go back on something she had "sworn as [he] / Had done to this" that he relents and determines to move forward with the plot to commit regicide (1.7.47, 1.7.66-67). The tragedy is that a good man falls, becoming evil. If Macbeth were a monster to begin with, then killing the king (and everyone else) would only be in keeping with his character all along. Therefore, he is a tragic hero.

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Consider Macbeth as a tragic hero.

Aristotle serves us the recipe for tragedy in his Poetics.  There, he says a perfect tragedy must have a unified plot and a tragic hero that suffers a reversal of fortune as a result of a mistake in judgement.

Indeed, Macbeth, the play and the character, fit this mold.  Macbeth is a noble, valiant thane who (at first) is loyal to king, God, and country.  Soon, however, he entangles himself in a plot to murder the king, as devised by his wife.  Underscoring all of this is his belief in his victory over his ambition, cruelty, and suffering when he consults supernatural sources (the witches) that seem to help him control elements of time and fate.

Macbeth is also very thoughtful and poetic in his speech.  His soliloquies echo eternal themes of the nature of good and evil, ambition and cruelty, fate and free will, the natural and the supernatural.  His language elevates him above the rest (Lady Macbeth in particular).

Macbeth will suffer from a tragic mistake: blind ambition.  His Machiavellian attitude ("the ends justify the means") will disturb the natural order of society and family.  Soon, all will suffer.  He and his wife will succumb to mental illness because of guilt.

In the end, Macbeth will go out like he began: fighting.  He will valiantly try to defeat the moral agent of the play, Macduff.  Nay, he will take on a whole army by himself: man against the world.  His death will give us a katharsis, a purgation of pity of fear.  We will empathize with a man who risked it all at a chance for greatness and immortality.

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To what extent is Macbeth considered a tragic hero in the play Macbeth?  

If we follow Aristotle's definition of the tragic hero, Macbeth fits the definition on several levels. First, Macbeth is a noble, and he is respected by others. Next, he suffers hamartia when he is overtaken by his greed and ambition. Macbeth does not trust "Chance" to see him through to becoming king, so he resolves to take matters into his own hands. Once he begins his plotting and then becomes king, he does not feel safe in this position because it was gotten through ill means. Macbeth's greed motivates him to eliminate all threats to his position, so he continues to kill. The audience does feel pity for Macbeth because he was originally a good and noble subject of Duncan: Macbeth fought valiantly for the king and was rewarded by Duncan. But as the play continues, Macbeth cannot, or at least is not willing, to see that his actions are wrong. At the end of the play, however, Macbeth does not experience anagnorisis and catharsis the way that tragic heroes do according to the Aristotelian model--instead Macbeth says that he will "try the last" and fight for his cause until the bitter end. Macbeth does not take responsibility for his ill acts, and he dies still fighting for his position as king.

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To what extent is Macbeth considered a tragic hero in the play Macbeth?  

An Elizabethan and in particular a Shakespearean tragic hero is one who, like in Greek tragedies, is a good and noble hero who falls into suffering and foul deeds by his own doing. Macbeth fits this definition exactly. In Greek tragedies, the tragic hero sometime acts against himself unwittingly, such as when identities were disguised or unknown, and does not necessarily have to die, e.g., exile is the end in some Greek drama. However, in Renaissance Elizabethan tragedies, especially so in Shakespeare's tragedies, the hero falls so totally that the only way to bring a satisfactory catharsis, by way of the Renaissance understanding of the term, is to have the tragic hero die. Macbeth is a Shakespearean tragic hero to the full extent.

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In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, how does Macbeth fit the criteria of a tragic hero? 

A tragic hero starts out as generally a decent person who is powerful and high-ranking in his society. Because of a tragic flaw or flaws, and the actions that he takes as a result of his flaws, the tragic hero falls (often he dies at the end of the play, but this is not always the case). The tragic hero does evoke the audience's sympathy and pity at certain points in the tragedy, and he is human (flawed), so he exhibits fear. Although he may briefly protest his fate, he eventually comes to accept it. We can see Macbeth exhibit many of the qualities of the tragic hero in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

At the start of the play, Macbeth is a respected thane and battle commander. After the battle in Act I, scene ii, Macbeth is promoted by King Duncan, with whom he seems to have a strong relationship. Once Macbeth is told by the witches that he will one day be King, however, he becomes excessively ambitious, and in the beginning of Act II, he has already murdered Duncan and ascended to the throne. Macbeth exhibits fear during and after the murder of Duncan; in fact, he is so disturbed by what he has done that Lady Macbeth has to go back to plant the daggers on the guards to frame them for the crime (Macbeth refused to go back to the scene because of his fear and disgust). Macbeth's fear quickly transforms into paranoia, and he constantly feels that his position as king is threatened. This leads him to have his best friend killed and to order the murders of Macduff's wife, children, and servants. 

Later in the play, Macbeth returns to the witches and receives a new set of prophecies. These apparitions tell him that he should beware Macduff but that no man born of woman can harm him, and that he will be in power until the trees march up the hill. Macbeth takes these prophecies as a guarantee that he will remain king and he acts recklessly. In a way, this could be seen as Macbeth protesting his fate, though he does not know it yet. The prophecies all come true in the end and Macbeth falls from power, but Macbeth chooses to interpret the predictions in his favor and does not prepare for the oncoming battle in which he is killed. 

Once he starts to see the prophecies coming true in Act V, Macbeth protests by vowing to fight to the death. He will take on Macduff one-on-one, and he still believes that Macduff can't harm him because he must've been born of a woman. However, Macduff was "from his mother's womb / Untimely ripped" (V.viii.15-16). Macbeth continues to fight, but at this point must accept his fate. Macbeth is also seen accepting fate earlier in Act V when he learns of his wife's suicide and gives his famous "Out, out, brief candle!" speech (V.v.23). When Macbeth is killed by Macduff and the rightful heir, Malcolm, is placed on the throne, Macbeth's tragic fall is complete.  

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How does Shakespeare make Macbeth a tragic figure?

Shakespeare makes Macbeth a tragic figure by portraying him as a heroic, loyal individual who is manipulated by the Three Witches and succumbs to his ambition. This eventually influences him to kill King Duncan, betray his close friend, and eventually transform into a hopeless, bloodthirsty tyrant.

At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is depicted as an honorable, faithful servant of King Duncan who is destined for greatness. Macbeth is a courageous thane who is revered for his accomplishments on the battlefield. However, Macbeth's ambition is awakened after meeting the Witches, who inform him that he will one day become king. Initially, Macbeth does not want to assassinate the king, but his callous, driven wife manipulates him into following through with the murder.

Following King Duncan's assassination, Macbeth becomes overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety. He also begins to fear his close friend and murders Banquo in hopes of cementing his legacy. After killing his close friend, Macbeth transforms into a ruthless, bloody tyrant who is focused on vanquishing his political enemies and no longer loves his wife. He continues to place his trust in the evil, manipulative Witches and eventually recognizes his mistakes.

Macbeth becoming a victim of his own ambition and his dramatic fall from glory is what makes his character tragic. Macbeth was a revered, honorable thane whose tragic flaw was his ambition and transformed him into a hopeless, bloody tyrant after committing regicide.

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Why is Macbeth called a tragic hero if he is a bad guy?

This is an excellent question, but hard to answer. The short answer is that he started off as a good guy but turned into a bad guy because of his ambition. That is the kind of answer you might get from a person who considers him a tragic hero. I believe that Shakespeare was trying unsuccessfully to make the audience feel that Macbeth was a hero, or a tragic hero, and not an out-and-out villain like Richard III or Iago. Shakespeare tried to transfer some of the blame for Macbeth's crime to his wife, suggesting that Macbeth didn't really want to kill King Duncan and wouldn't have done it if Lady Macbeth hadn't kept nagging him. Shakespeare also tried to transfer some of the blame to the three witches, suggesting that he wouldn't have committed the crime if they hadn't convinced him that it was inevitable, that he couldn't help himself. But in the long run he still ends up looking like a bad guy. I don't believe the audience ever sympathizes with him, but I believe Shakespeare wanted the audience to sympathize with him. Macbeth is "called" a tragic hero by some critics, but not everyone would agree that he really is a tragic hero.

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How is Macbeth seen as a tragic hero?

Macbeth is a tragic hero because of his rather spectacular and dramatic corruption: he begins the play as a good, brave, and loyal man who allows his pride and ambition to overwhelm his better qualities.  If Macbeth were a villain to begin with, and he simply stayed villainous throughout the play, then it wouldn't really be such a tragedy.  The end, with his destruction, would really just be the just desserts of a very bad man.  However, because Macbeth is so good in the beginning, a man known for his courageous and excellent service to Scotland, his story becomes much more tragic.  He is manipulated by the Weird Sisters and by his own wife, persuaded to act against his conscience, and -- once he does -- the violence to which he gives in becomes a slippery slope, and he must commit more and more in order to retain what he has acquired. 

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Who is tragic hero in Macbeth?

A tragic hero is more tragic if he is noble and corrupted by the outside world or the evil forces. However, if the tragic hero’s actions are more a result of some inner moral or intellectual flaw, then he is less tragic. In short, the hero’s fall is more tragic if he is initially noble or if the tragic flaw is not his fault. A noble hero who becomes seduced by evil forces or evil suggestions is somewhat in the middle.

Likewise, there are different interpretations of hamartia. It comes from the root to “miss the mark,” and differing interpretations will note it is to “sin” or simply to make a mistake. So, Macbeth is a tragic hero (of the middle ground). He is seduced by the vague suggestions of the weird sisters, which means he may or may not have been noble. When we meet Macbeth, he has just fought nobly? for the, then, King Duncan. And since he was plagued by guilt, which he mistook for fear, he must have had some noble notions. Hamartia is often described as a mistake committed by the hero unwittingly. Hamartia as a tragic flaw then applies more to a hero who commits a mistake or sin through no fault of his own. Macbeth is responsible for his actions. Macbeth is to some degree, a tragic hero. And I think you could say his flaw is tragic or hamartia also to a degree because he knew what he was doing for the most part, but he was pressured by his wife and there may be an element of supernatural influence on the part of the witches, but that may be giving Macbeth too much credit.

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In Macbeth, in what ways does Macbeth's "Is this a dagger..." soliloquy portray him as a tragic hero?

This soliloquy can be seen as presenting Macbeth as a tragic hero through the way that the dagger leads Macbeth towards Duncan's chamber and the murder he is going to commit. In a sense, Macbeth sees himself as almost being powerless to resist the dagger that he sees before him: he is a victim of forces beyond his control, whether they are supernatural or emerging from his own unconscious. Macbeth recognises this himself when he asks a series of questions to the dagger about its identity:

Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible

To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but


A dagger of the mind, a false creation, 

Proceeding from the heat-opprest brain? 

Macbeth seems to recognise that this dagger could be a result of his own fevered imaginings, but either way, he sees it guiding him towards the terrible crime he is about to commit, and he is a tragic hero in the way that he is unable to resist the dagger's lure and the way that it foreshadows both the blood he will shed with a real dagger and his own blood that will be shed by the close of the play. Macbeth is a tragic hero in this play because in this speech, by determining to kill Duncan, he sets himself on the path to perdition whilst seeming to be helpless to prevent this.  

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In Macbeth, in what ways does Macbeth's "Is this a dagger..." soliloquy portray him as a tragic hero?

To show how the soliloquy seals Macbeth's "tragic hero" status, it is necessary to show why he is so confused. It is this very confusion that is responsible for the hallucinations.  

Macbeth, having changed his mind, "We will proceed no further in this business"(I.vii) is persuaded by Lady Macbeth to go ahead with Duncan's murder as otherwise he is hardly a man: "When you durst do it, then you were a man." His emotions are thus very conflicted. We know he is prone to the extraordinary - he's married to Lady Macbeth who is eccentric, passionate and actually quite scary! She is however his "Greatnesse."

It makes sense then that the soliloquy reveals his bewilderment - thus rendering him a tragic hero-  as Macbeth wants to be everything to Lady Macbeth, wants to meet her expectations and wants to satisfy his own "vaulting ambition"- thus exposing his fatal flaw.  

The soliloquy suggests that Macbeth killing Duncan is preordained as the dagger presents itself with "the handle toward my hand." The "gouts" of blood that suddenly present and the reference to Hectate (the head witch) confound his confusion as he cannot stop; he is powerless against the forces. The dagger will drive him as if giving him the permission to commit Duncan to "heaven or to hell." 

Macbeth is certainly dramatic and this soliloquy is particularly shocking to the audience. Macbeth is a noble character, rewarded by his king and celebrated by his countrymen but he is destined to fail as "witchcraft" interferes with the normal flow of his future and "thou marshall'st me the way that I was going." He has no choice in it!   

The dagger may be an illusion at this point but it is a very real act he is about to perform. He is concerned about being discovered "hear not my steps" but as soon as the bell rings "I go, and it is done," it is as if there is no alternative because "the bell invites me." 

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How is the story of Macbeth a tragedy because he's the tragic hero?

Macbeth’s tragic flaw is his ambition. It leads to his downfall. He was a loyal and brave soldier before that, which is why Duncan promoted him to Thane of Cawdor in the first place.  Macbeth becomes so overwhelmed with ambition, however, that he makes terrible decisions that lead to his destruction.

Macbeth’s ambition seems to be the direct result of the witches’ intervention. They tell him he will be king, and then he expects it. When he isn’t named Duncan’s successor, he gets angry. He announces to the audience in an aside that he has a dark desire to be king.

The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step

On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires (Act I, Scene 4).

Macbeth’s downfall is slow and messy. It begins before he even kills Duncan. He struggles with the process, imagining a floating dagger as he considers murder. The deed itself makes him imagine things, which causes him to lose sleep.

Macbeth’s descent into madness is also accompanied by paranoia. He has Banquo killed, both because he fears Banquo suspects Macbeth killed the king and because the other prophecy said Banquo’s sons would be kings. Macbeth then imagines or sees Banquo’s ghost. Macbeth also has Macduff’s family killed. 

The witches return with a new set of prophecies, this time telling Macbeth to beware Macduff in one breath and that he can’t be harmed by a man “of woman born” in the other.   Macbeth becomes even more unnerved when Lady Macbeth dies, appearing to commit suicide.  

Macbeth is still not ready to give up. His ambition means he is ready to fight to the death, even if it means throwing his soldiers at a lost cause. When Macbeth finally faces Macduff, he is completely immolated by Macduff’s revelation that he was “from his mother's womb/ Untimely ripp'd” and therefore is a risk to Macbeth (Act V, Scene 8). Macbeth loses confidence in himself from that point on, making it pretty easy for Macduff to defeat him.

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How does Shakespeare succeed in making a tragic hero out of Macbeth?

Most tragic heroes are brave and noble, but their tragic flaw brings about their destruction. Macbeth is a somewhat sympathetic character since the audience is privy to his thoughts and reasonings. We know that he is courageous because men describe his remarkable feats in battle. They refer to him as noble, brave, and worthy. Macbeth also has a conscience because he initially resists the urge to usurp the throne. He tells his more brazen wife “We will proceed no further in this business” of killing King Duncan. In spite of knowing why he should not kill his king and friend, he does so anyway, and his guilt manifests in anxieties and hallucinations.

It is his ambition that overcomes Macbeth’s moral convictions. Lady Macbeth pushes him forward, but he barely resists her persuasions. When hearing the witches’ prediction that he shall be thane of Cawdor and then king, he expresses curiosity and contemplates the steps he would have to take to get the throne. This weakness turns Macbeth into a tyrant as he grows increasingly numb and causes the deaths of numerous others. He kills or attempts to kill his best friend Banquo and his son, Macduff and his entire household (including wife, children, and servants), and any who oppose him. He shows no emotion at the news of Lady Macbeth’s death. Eventually, Macduff kills Macbeth, and his subjects celebrate the end of of a cruel ruler. Macbeth is an interesting case of a hero whose tragedy is that he becomes a villain.

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How is Macbeth a tragedy of his character?

Macbeth is presented at first as a hero of Scotland, having protected the country from attack and civil war. As is typical with a Shakespearean hero, Macbeth enters the story from a high position of nobility and honor. The opportunity is presented to him to achieve more power through his own efforts at the expense of others. Macbeth ponders this dilemma that is presented in the prophecy of the three witches. Does he let fate give him the throne, or should his own efforts lead him to it? If fate has determined that he will be king, does he need to do anything? Macbeth does not trust fate that extensively, so he decides to take fate into his own hands, committing several murders as a result. He is driven to this by Lady Macbeth, who chides him for being weak. As in the story of the Garden of Eden, the wife (Eve/ Lady Macbeth) drags the husband (Adam/ Macbeth) into sin and evil. This shows a weakness in Macbeth’s character. His hubris is his fatal flaw, as it is with most of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes. With humility, Macbeth could have saved himself, but his pride leads to his downfall and death.

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