Macbeth and Tragic Hero
Macbeth, a tragedy written by William Shakespeare in the 17th century, expresses clearly the strong pull that desire for power can have over a man. Macbeth, the title character of the play, is often expressed as being the villain of the tragedy. However, through studying the play closely it is clear to see that, rather than being an innately evil character, Macbeth is in fact a tragic hero, doomed by fate from the start to descend into the madness which he did. Had it not been for his hamartia and his interaction with the witches and his wife then the play would have had a very different ending.
Like every tragic hero in literature Macbeth suffered from a tragic flaw, or a hamartia. In his case, his flaw was his vaulting ambition,
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In many ways, Lady Macbeth can be described as the driving force behind the murder of Duncan and thus also Macbeth’s transformation. It was initially Lady Macbeth who created the idea for the murder of the King. Whiles Macbeth had previously considered it, he had never come to a conclusion and had simply left things to see how they turned out. Lady Macbeth was the one who voiced the idea and who pushed it. In act I, scene 7 Macbeth had decided that he would not go through with the act, however he was convinced otherwise by his wife, who questioned his manhood through quotes such as “When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more then what you were, you would be so much more the man” (act I, seven 7). She worked on Macbeth’s ambition and filled his mind with ideas of power. Combined with his tragic flaw, it was almost impossible for Macbeth to resist that temptation. It was ultimately Lady Macbeth who spurred him to murder Duncan.
Macbeth was not a typical villain, for whiles he did kill people he felt guilt and remorse for his acts. In the scene following the discovery of Ducans murdered body (act II), Macbeth showed great difficulty in hiding his remorse. This contrasted with his wife, who could easily hide the truth and forge innocence. He was also aware of the consequences that could arise from his actions, as seen in the ‘if it were when tis done’ soliloquy in