Essay on Macbeth and Tragic Hero

1071 WordsApr 27, 20135 Pages
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,…show more content…
Though initially he did not believe what they said, once he was granted the title Thane of Cawdor, he started to consider that it could possibly be true. There is a noticeable difference in his attitude toward the prophecy before and after he is made Thane of Cawdor. Before, there is a clear disbelief in his approach, though it’s obvious that he hopes for it to be true. Where as afterwards Macbeth is starting to view his promotion to King as not just a possibility, but rather an inevitable truth. His desire for this power arose and his ambition started to take control. It was this moment that started his transformation from hero, to tragic hero. However, the alteration was a slow one and throughout the tragedy the Witches continued to contribute to Macbeths growing insanity. Their prophecies begun to dictate his every move. This reliance on the witches is seen in the final scenes of the play, where Macbeth shows increasingly reckless behaviour in the battle scene due to the witches’ prophecy that “none of women born would harm Macbeth” (act IV, scene I). He became enraptured by a longing for power, a desire that would not have consumed him so, had it not been for his interaction with the witches. For if the Witches had not come along, than it is certain that Macbeth would not have fallen victim to the clutches of madness like he did. However, it was not only the Witches who contributed to

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