William Shakespeare, one of history’s legendary writers, created the play Macbeth with a tragedy that still burns with pity and sadness for Macbeth to this very day. From Macbeth’s tragic flaws, his continuous errors in judgement, to his complete downfall, this character actively demonstrates many characteristics of a Shakespearean tragic hero. The character Macbeth is a tragic hero in the play Macbeth. One of the reasons how Macbeth is a tragic hero is by his tragic flaws. In the play, the audience receives a sense of Macbeth’s ambition from this quote: “I have no spur/to prick the sides of my intent, but only/vaulting ambition, which overlaps itself/and falls on the others” (1,7,25-28).
Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor / All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” (1.3.51-53). After hearing the witches’ prophecy, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth only focus on the last part of it which was Macbeth becoming king. This relates to the theme because Macbeth decides to take action and kill Duncan in order to make sure he is king. This also shows his disillusionment as he is doing anything for his fate to be proven true. Macbeth feels threatened by Fleance after the witches told Banquo his prophecy, which was that he will have a line of kings.
His madness is shown through his strong love for Ophelia and the depths he is willing to take to show how much he loves her. Hamlet also displays his deranged mind by not giving the whereabouts to Polonius’ body and discussing the fate of the kings prior to it actually happening. One way Hamlet’s unhinged mind is shown throughout the play is by his deep love and peculiar words to Ophelia. When Hamlet had discovered that Ophelia was dead, he lost his mind and his strength. At Ophelia’s funeral he couldn’t bear to see her laying in that grave and says, “ Dost thou come here to whine, To outface me with leaping in her grave, Be buried quick with her?/ and so will I”(v.i.263-265).
This shows an advancement of his mental illness, where he is struggling to care whether he lives or dies. As Hamlet reaches the climax of the play, his entrapment comes in the form of malevolence towards Claudius in Act III, scene iv. This is when Hamlet stabs Polonius through the curtain, and then voices how he will fully commit to violent actions against the king, after the Ghost tells Hamlet again to do what he has been told. “I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so, to punish me with this, and this with me, that I must be their
At the beginning of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a good, brave knight who is loyal to his king. However, upon hearing the prophecies of the witches, a dark, ambitious nature awakens within him – one that proves to be fatal. In Act I Scene iii, Macbeth says, “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion […] and make my sealed heart knock at my ribs” – implying that though at first he is horrified at the notion of murdering Duncan, it is an idea that he is willing to consider. Before he sends news of the recent events to his wife, Macbeth commands the stars to “hide [their] fires” so that no one can see his “black and deep” desires. (Act I, scene iv).
This is shown in the play, when Macbeth faces his consequences, like guilt. Shakespeare uses anaphora to show the audience that what Macbeth is saying relates to something important. Macbeth always had this fear of Banquo, because Banquo has his suspicions of Macbeth and hopes the prophecy about his son will come true. Macbeth is afraid of Banquo because of the witches’ promise that Banquo’s sons will be king so he then said, “To be thus is nothing. But to be safely thus.
They mock him, taunting him about how far he has fallen. He responds in anger, wanting to hear more prophecies. He obviously feels more entitled now, and his ambition has thoroughly succeeded in corrupting him to the point of no return. He is now king; his friend (though, in his eyes as of late, his enemy,) Banquo, is dead and out of the way; and he is on a mission to kill any others who stand in his way and jeopardize his crown. The witches inform him that none of women born will kill him, but Macbeth still insists that he will kill not only Macduff, but his entire family and staff, just to be on the safe side of things.
One theme that is present in Macbeth is ambition. This theme becomes evident when the witches give the prophecies to the Macbeths and they do everything they can in order to fulfill their desires. The first account of when Macbeth allows his ambition to overwhelm him is when he kills Duncan. In ActⅠScene ⅶ, Macbeth is contemplating whether or not to kill the king by listing out the reasons against and he discovers that ambition is his only motivation to kill. He says “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself / And falls on th’other”(ActⅠScene ⅶ) Macbeth has enough self-awareness to realize the dangers of killing the king yet his temptation to complete the prophecy is too strong.
She knew that Macbeth would do anything to make her happy, but would she really stoop down to this crime of evilness and revenge? Subsequently, her husband's cruelty and her own guilt recoil on her, sending her into a madness from which she never recovers. Though Macbeth would listen to his wife and commit to the crime of Duncan’s murder, he knew once the act was finished and he became king, revenge would soon come upon him. He states this by saying in Act 1 Scene 7, “To our own lips. He’s here in double trust:” the murder would be the be-all and end-all of the whole affair, and I would gladly put my soul and the afterlife at risk to do it.
The term tragic hero results from the Greek term hero which means a character who not only faces hardship and misfortune but one who also demonstrates and exhibits bravery in the face of danger. Unfortunately, in the end, the tragic hero also faces a bitter downfall. Sometimes, if not always, the tragic hero is a character that can conjure sad emotions like pity, anxiety, or distress. William Shakespeare chooses his lead character, Macbeth, to represent the tragic hero in his play Macbeth. Macbeth suffers from being the tragic hero of the play where he has numerous flaws but most noticeably his uncontrolled ambition and desire for power which leads to his tragic defeat.