Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
In the Shakespearean play, The Tragedy of Macbeth, the character Macbeth serves as the tragic hero. Macbeth fits the four characteristics that are needed for one to be a tragic hero according to Aristotle. First, Macbeth is a main character in the play; secondly he was a person of importance, being one of kings most loyal soldiers. Thirdly he has tragic flaws that would lead to his downfall, which in this case will be death. His tragic flaws are paranoia and jealousy. These flaws in his character cause him to eventually deteriorate mentally and also bring about his death.
When Macbeth first hears of the witches prophecy, they tell him that he himself will be king, but that none of his descendants will take over the throne. However, they tell Banquo that a long line of kings shall follow him. Macbeth soon becomes enraged by the fact that Banquo s issues will become king after his tenure as king, and demises a plan to change the fate of the witches’ prophecies. To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus- Our fears in Banquo stick deep (Act III Scene I, Lines 48-49). Macbeth becomes so paranoid about Banquo heirs to the throne that he calls upon three murderers to kill Banquo along with his son, Fleance. He first gets them to believe that the reason of their misfortune was because of Banquo. Both of you know Banquo was your enemy (Act III, Scene I, Line 116-117). He later carries out of giving the order to the murderers and tell them about also killing Fleance. To leave no rubs nor botches in the work- Fleance his son, that keeps him company, Whose absence is no less material to me than in his father s, embrace the fate (Act III Scene I Lines 135-137). After the murder, Lennox and Malcolm begin to think that it was Macbeth that was responsible and state motives that would make him do this. This shows the first sign of a person or persons beginning to rise up against Macbeth. Another event in the play that shows Macbeth s paranoia was when he visits the witches again and they tell him Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff! Beware the Thane of Fife (Act IV, Scene I, Lines 71-72). In an attempt to deter Macduff from ever doing anything against him, Macbeth decides to kill Macduff s entire family, even though Macduff is not going to be included in this massacre. The castle of Macduff I will surprise; Seize upon Fife; give to th edge o th sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls (Act IV, Scene ii, Lines 150-152). This plan ends up backfiring on Macbeth because instead of instilling fear into Macduff, it brings about a strong sense for the need of revenge. When Macbeth s castle is attacked, it was Macduff that personally kills Macbeth.
Macbeth begins to show signs of jealousy in the very beginning of the play. When he learns of Malcolm being named Prince of Cumberland, he leaves the ceremony in disgust. The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o er leap, for in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires (Act I, Scene IV, Lines 48-51). This throws Macbeth into a state of mind in which he is mainly out to get power, and this is the precursor to him deciding to kill King Duncan. Jealousy towards Banquo is shown because Macbeth knows that he will not have any heirs to the throne unlike Banquo. They hailed him father to a line of kings. Upon my head that placed a fruitless crown and put a barren scepter in my gripe No son of mine succeeding, if t be so, Banquo issue have I filed my mind (Act III, Scene I, Lines 60-62, 63-64). This causes Macbeth to hire the murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance so that Macbeth would have no challenge to the throne. After the murdering of Banquo, Macbeth s character takes a turn for the worse in every aspect. He doesn t think things out as thoroughly, and acts on the first things that come to his mind. The very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand. And even now, to crown my thoughts with acts be it thought and done (Act IV, Scene ii, Lines 146-149). Macbeth makes many decisions in this frame of mind, and these actions lead to his downfall.
In the play The Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth is the tragic hero. He is a main character, one of importance, and has flaws that help bring about his downfall. We see the eventual demise of Macbeth mainly due to his paranoia and jealousy. These two tragic flaws make him due things that under normal conditions he would not do, and he ends up suffering the greatest downfall, losing ones life.