MacBeth - Tragic Hero
The character of Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean
tragic hero. There are many factors which contribute to the
degeneration of Macbeth of which three will be discussed. The three
points which contribute greatly to Macbeth's degeneration are 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.
The prophecies which were told by the witches were one of the
factors which contributed to the degeneration of his character. If it
had not been for the witches telling him that he was to be Thane of
Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland, Macbeth would still be
his ordinary self. As a result of the prophecies, this aroused
Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. As the play
progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies.
Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy for Macbeth's curiosity which
corrupts his character.
The influence of Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed
to his degeneration of character. Lady Macbeth's character in the
beginning reveals that she is a lovable person. When Lady Macbeth was
ready to kill King Duncan herself, it showed that Lady Macbeth could
not murder King Duncan because he reminded her of her father. This
proves that Lady Macbeth has a heart deep inside her. Lady Macbeth
plays an important role in this play because she provided a scheme
which caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had
killed King Duncan, he later regrets on his wrong doing. At the point
of this play the audience can note the change in Macbeth's character.
Macbeth's first murder was a trying experience for him, however after
the first murder, killing seemed to be the only solution to maintain
his reign of the people of Scotland. Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth
who introduced the concept of murder to Macbeth.
Macbeth's ambition also influenced his declining character.
However, Macbeth's ambition had not been strong enough to carry the
motive to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth's influence also comes in to
play because if not for Lady Macbeth, his ambition would not have been
intensified enough to drive him to obtain and maintain his title of
King of Scotland no matter what it took, even if it meant murdering.
Macbeth's ambition influenced the cause of his new character. This new
character of Macbeth contained greed, violence, and power hunger.
Macbeth shows this when he kills King Duncan.
In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady
Macbeth's influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all
contributed greatly to his degeneration of character which resulted to
his downfall...death. Therefore Macbeth character displays strong
signs of a tragic hero, making him the ideal classic example.
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