In all genres of literature different character types might be found. Some bring humor or comic relief, while others bring both pity and fear to the audience. A tragic character is one who gives evidence to the audience concerning his or her tragic flaw that causes a change in fortune, from happiness to misery. In a tragedy the main character rises to greatness, then continues to fall down, until reaches his or her downfall. Macbeth is a tragic hero in the play Macbeth by Shakespeare. The process of this tragedy is slow to let the audience become comfortable with the power and happiness of the main character. Then, suddenly, foreshadowing in climax occurs as the main character heads to his downfall. Therefore Macbeth can be considered a tragic hero because of his downfall, which is influenced by the witches, Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth s ambition.
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The prophecies, which were told by the witches, were one of the factors that contributed to the fall of Macbeth s character. Ross proved the first prophecy, when he told Macbeth that Duncan has given the death sentence to the present Thane of Cawdor. From this point witches prophecies start to play an important role in Macbeth s future. Macbeth s character starts to deteriorate, and his thoughts highlight his character change. Macbeth thinks to himself: My thought, whose murder (killing Duncan) yet is but fantastical (1.3. ).
Macbeth s mood is also gets influenced by the prophecies. There is a direct relationship between prophecies and Macbeth s mood. Macbeth feels optimistic
about his future if the prophecies are good and inspiring. The second prophecies told by the witches gave Macbeth an optimistic view on the future. Macbeth interpreted them as motivating and inspiring. For him his future sounds safe: Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane/I cannot taint with fear. /’Fear not, Macbeth; no man that’s born of woman/Shall e’er have power upon thee.’ Then fly, false thanes/(5.3. ). The first prophecies that witches have made served as matches to start a fire, a fire in Macbeth s ambition that would get bigger and more dangerous. These first prophecies helped Macbeth to reach his greatness and happiness. Later the second prophecies served as water that brought the fire down, which was Macbeth s downfall. Therefore all the time Macbeth s tragic fall was influenced by the witches prophecies.
While witches were first to influence Macbeth, Lady Macbeth also contributed to Macbeth s downfall by inspiring his ambition. Lady Macbeth accused Macbeth that he was not men enough to kill Duncan: When you durst do it, then you were a man;/And, to be more than what you were, you would/Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place/Did then adhere, and yet you would make both: (1.7. ) Lady Macbeth coaxed Macbeth that killing Duncan was the best way to get to the throne. Lady Macbeth was very important and close person for Macbeth, as she was his life companion. Thus Macbeth listened to her and she manipulates his decisions.
Lady Macbeth s contribution to Macbeth s rise to greatness is significant, as much as her contribution to his downfall. Afterward, when Macbeth reached his peak of greatness, Lady Macbeth considered wrong and immoral actions made by Macbeth. She tried to prevent them but she failed. First she tried to make Macbeth forget what he has done:
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died/With them they think on? Things without all remedy/ Should be without regard: what’s done is done. (3.2 ). Lady Macbeth tried to calm Macbeth s ambition as he was only thinking about the throne, but she couldn t manipulate Macbeth as much as she did in the beginning. Thus it is highly recognized that Lady Macbeth had an influence on Macbeth downfall.
Even though witches prophecies and Lady Macbeth had important influence on Macbeth s downfall, Macbeth s ambitions seemed to be the main and most important factor that made Macbeth a tragic hero. Macbeth’s ambition allowed Macbeth to become powerful. Without ambition, it is impossible to achieve goals. Therefore, ambition is what allowed Macbeth to overcome his obstacles and come closer to his final goals. Macbeth s ambition brought Macbeth a long way from a great solder to a tyrant. First his ambition to become the king was accomplished by killing the actual king. Then his ambition grew bigger, as Macbeth was not satisfied. He was afraid that Banquo s descendants would take his place: They hail’d him father to a line of kings:/Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,/And put a barren sceptre in my gripe, (3.1. ). Macbeth became a tyrant. His solution to his problems became immoral and evil. This all happened because his ambition of being a king was tremendously strong at that time. Anything that happened to Macbeth was traced back to his vaulting ambition. This ambition was to be blamed for his great power, as well as his downfall.
Witches, Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth s ambition all influenced Macbeth s tragic flaw. It could be highly recognized ow witches and Lady Macbeth inspired Macbeth s
ambition to be the king. This brought Macbeth to his peak, and he became the King of Scotland. After a wile the same factors brought Macbeth down, and created his downfall.
Therefore Macbeth s character displays strong example of a tragic hero.