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Is Macbeth A Traditional Tragic Hero?

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Introduction

Is Macbeth A Traditional Tragic Hero? Many people have read or watched the play Macbeth, either in the theatre, cinema or at home but what is their opinion on it? The play is probably remembered for its many twists and turns of the main character Macbeth and the surroundings of which he was entwined in. But is that all? Can he, Macbeth be a Traditional Tragic Hero or is he just one of the characters of the play. A Traditional Tragic Hero has to bear a certain five merits about them. Noble birth is the first of the five. This means he must be respected and be part of a reputable family. The second quality is they have to be brave, which means they are fearless, bold, resolute and fight for their country and their people. Thirdly, they must have a fatal flaw regarding them, which means they have a certain weakness that dilutes them of their normal self. The fourth distinction of a Traditional Tragic Hero is they must have caused suffering to others. The fifth and final quality is that the audience should feel a sense of loss at his death. A Traditional Tragic Hero can be fair, great, and pure of heart or could be devious, foul, evil and heartless. Macbeth fits into this persona of Traditional Tragic Hero and the proof of this is all over the play. Regarding Noble Birth, Macbeth fits into this almost at the beginning of the play. [I ii L.24], Duncan refers to Macbeth as his cousin, "O valiant cousin! ...read more.

Middle

Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, And though oppos'd, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield :lay o, Macduff, And damn'd be him that first cries, ' Hold, enough!" The third fragment of the five qualities of a Traditional Tragic Hero is a fatal flaw. The Concise English Dictionary defines Fatal as something lethal and deadly that occurs and it defines Flaw as a break, a defect. All in all Fatal Flaw means a deadly defect/s to describe Macbeth. Macbeth's Fatal Flaw is his ambition. His ambition is like a horse which tries to jump too high and falls in the other side of the fence. His ambition is so high that he is often found to be gullible, which means he is easily manipulated or mislead and he listens to too much around him and does not think for himself. There are many quotes to prove this. [I iii L.48-50]: " All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be King hereafter." These lines are quoted by the Three Witches, who the scene before plotted to ruin Macbeth. He at first doubts the Three Witches. [ I iii L. 71- 73]: " By Sinel's death I know I am Thane of Glamis; But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentle man; and to be king" But at the arrival of Ross, where he pronounces that Macbeth has been just made Thane of Cawdor, his mind changes. ...read more.

Conclusion

An additional example of Macbeth causing suffering to others is in [III iv] where Macbeth hires three Murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. He does not have to get Banquo but his ambition drives him forward. When Macbeth discovers that Macduff is a threat to him he orders murderers to kill Macduff's family. This causes great distress to Macduff. When he finds out, Malcolm says to Macduff to "dispute it like a man." Macduff's reply [IV iii L.220]: "I shall do so; Bi must also feel it like a man: I cannot but remember such things were, That were most precious to me. Did Heaven look on, And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff! They were all stuck for thee. Naught that I am, Not for their own demerits, but for mine, Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now." Macduff is asking that is it because of his sins that his family have been slaughtered, is it for his failings? and he prays that his wife and children be in heaven. The fifth and final part of a Traditional Tragic Hero is audience should feel a sense of loss at Macbeth's death. I do feel a sense of loss because of the man he could have become if he had not listened to the Three Witches and his wife. If only he did not have such high ambitions he would have been remembered as a true person. He had served his country well before Duncan's death and before he died he still showed bravery when even the purest and greatest of people would have given up. In the end he knew that he was wrong. ...read more.

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