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Tragic Hero.

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Tragic Hero Tragic heroes first originated from ancient Greek tragedies. As the name suggests, tragic heroes are exceptional beings, with characteristics which should have led to them achieving greatness, however they all have a fatal flaw, which always ultimately leads to their downfall. Some sort of human weakness too is always present in a tragic hero, which again plays a great part in the transformation from being admired to despised. Tragic heroes have very much become part of the literary tradition, and have since been conveyed in plays from many different cultures. Macbeth has all the essential characteristics for being called a tragic hero. At the beginning of the play everyone has nothing but admiration for him. He is described as the ideal soldier; brave, valiant and above all loyal, you could say he was the perfect role model. However his meeting with the three witches took its toll on his character as it led to his fatal flaw; his ambition to become King, which contributed immensely to his conversion to the dark side. The human weakness that Macbeth clearly possesses is that which his wife triggers to persuade him to carry out his dreadful acts. His human weakness is simply the mocking of his manhood, which when done drives Macbeth towards committing the dead. Everyone's perception of Macbeth in the early stages of the play is very positive. He is depicted as being a loyal servant of his King. This is clear when he is spoken so highly of in Act 1 Scene 2. Firstly the Captain calls him, 'brave Macbeth,' and Duncan regards him as 'valiant cousin, worthy gentleman,' as well as 'noble Macbeth.' ...read more.


'I fear they nature/ It is too full o'th'milk of human kindness,' Lady Macbeth thinks Macbeth is too good and honest to do anything evil. I think she is partly to blame for Macbeth killing Duncan because it is only due to her persuasive techniques that he decided to kill Duncan. Whilst talking to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth constantly pressurises and mocks him. It is clear that from the start that Macbeth is against the idea when he states he wishes 'to go no further,' and also when he is contemplating killing Duncan all the positive things he states about him too suggest that he wouldn't be capable of killing Duncan. 'Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been/ So clear in his great office, that his virtues/ Will plead like angels.' This proves that it is Lady Macbeth's influence that causes him to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth's reaction to Macbeth's refusal to kill Duncan shows how much she really wants Macbeth to become King. She mocks his manhood, and in doing so exploits his human weakness, which consequently causes his character to change more towards evil thoughts. 'Art thou afraid...wouldst thou...live like a coward in thine own esteem...when you durst do it, then you were a man!' Lady Macbeth's persistence is the main pulling force behind the assassination. This is made more evident by the way Macbeth acts after he has committed the murder, as he is clearly a nervous wreck. An example, which shows this, is when he explains to Lady Macbeth on hearing the guards say a prayer he was unable to respond by saying 'Amen,' this example in particular suggests Macbeth's character has changed from good to evil. ...read more.


In conclusion, I feel the blame does not rest with one body for Macbeth's transformation from 'valiant cousin, worthy gentleman' to 'abhorred tyrant.' It is clear that the witches are to blame for putting the thought of becoming King in his mind. They tell him half-truths throughout the play to lead him on, but it is he whom decides how to get there, his ambition is the main driving force behind this as Banquo too was promised greatness (his children would be Kings) though he did nothing evil to tempt fate. However it is clear from Macbeth's thoughts during the banquet, when he is thinking of all the good that Duncan has done, that he is not capable of killing him i.e. he is too 'full o'th'milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way,' just as Lady Macbeth had stated, but she was able to mock his manhood i.e. his human weakness to manipulate him into committing evil. After Duncan's death Macbeth himself becomes the tyrant and the thinker of evil, he himself devised the planning of the death of Banquo and Macduff's family, his lack of fear when facing evil (i.e. when he visits the witches for the second time) again shows his ambition and determination to remain king regardless of the cost, he slays innocent people, this proves the seeds of evil were planted inside him. Hence I believe all three factors were vital for Macbeth becoming a tragic hero, without the witches Macbeth or his wife would never have thought of killing the king to reach the throne, and without Lady Macbeth, Macbeth would have lacked the courage to kill Duncan too and so would never have ordered and devised the numerous murders he did. Janak Bhundia Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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