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Macbeth: Tragic Hero Essay

928 words - 4 pages

Macbeth: Tragic HeroIn Ancient Greece, legendary philosopher Aristotle defined the term "tragic hero" under a set of 4 strict characteristics. One must be noble of birth, have a tragic flaw, a reversal of fortune, and must discover that the reversal was brought by his own actions. As William Shakespeare was writing Macbeth, he took these characteristics and used them to mold his main character, Macbeth. Throughout history, Macbeth has become a prime example of a tragic hero.Aristotle defined a tragic hero as someone who had something to loose and would capture the onlooker's pity. To do so, the hero could not be of low status because they would never have a dramatic reversal of fortune, ...view middle of the document...

Tragic flaw, or Hamartia, is the tragic hero's error of judgment or inherent defect of character. In Macbeth, Macbeth's tragic flaw is his dependence on the witch's words. As soon as their first prediction became reality, he relied on them for his personal questions. The witches, however, had a way with words. Macbeth's demise came from his gullibility in believing exactly what they said. They said things in which without knowing exactly what they were speaking of, there words could be mistaken as others. For example, the witches spoke that "Macbeth shall never be vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him."(Act 4 Scene 1) Anyone could mistake this as an impossible feat, which Macbeth did, but the twist to the words was that Birnam Wood would be carried by Malcolm's army as camouflage. These errors end up costing Macbeth dearly in the end.Fortune. In the long run it is the basis of either joy or misery. Macbeth sets out with a substantial fortune. He is a high-ranking general of the King's army with a lovely manor a top a hill in which a beautiful wife awaits his return. Then the witches become involved in his life. Greed for power overtakes him and he soon obtains all the power in all of Scotland. But just as he was doing well, paranoia seeps in and he begins to make all the wrong choices and get on the wrong sides of the wrong people. Macbeth finds...

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