Macbeth: A Shakespearean Tragic Hero


The character of Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean
tragic hero. There are many factors which contribute to the degeneration
of Macbeth of which three will be discussed. The three points which
contribute greatly to Macbeth\'s degeneration are the prophecy which was
told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated
Macbeth\'s judgment, and finally Macbeth\'s long time ambition which drove
his desire to be king. Macbeth\'s growing character degenerates from a
noble man to violent individual.

The prophecies which were told by the witches were one of the factors
which contributed to the degeneration of his character. If it had not been
for the witches telling him that he was to be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of
Glamis, and King of Scotland, Macbeth would still be his ordinary self. As
a result of the prophecies, this aroused Macbeth\'s curiosity of how he
could be King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies
on the witches prophecies. Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy for
Macbeth\'s curiosity which corrupts his character.

The influence of Macbeth\'s wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed to his
degeneration of character. Lady Macbeth\'s character in the beginning
reveals that she is a lovable person. When Lady Macbeth was ready to kill
King Duncan herself, it showed that Lady Macbeth could not murder King
Duncan because he reminded her of her father. This proves that Lady
Macbeth has a heart deep inside her. Lady Macbeth plays an important role
in this play because she provided a scheme which caused Macbeth to
assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had killed King Duncan, he later
regrets on his wrong doing. At the point of this play the audience can
note the change in Macbeth\'s character. Macbeth\'s first murder was a trying
experience for him, however after the first murder, killing seemed to be
the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland.
Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth who introduced the concept of murder to
Macbeth.

Macbeth\'s ambition also influenced his declining character. However,
Macbeth\'s ambition had not been strong enough to carry the motive to kill
King Duncan. Lady Macbeth\'s influence also comes in to play because if not
for Lady Macbeth, his ambition would not have been intensified enough to
drive him to obtain and maintain his title of King of Scotland no matter
what it took, even if it meant murdering. Macbeth\'s ambition influenced
the cause of his new character. This new character of Macbeth contained
greed, violence, and power hunger. Macbeth shows this when he kills King
Duncan.

In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady
Macbeth\'s influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed
greatly to his degeneration of character which resulted to his
downfall...death. Therefore Macbeth character displays strong signs of a
tragic hero, making him the ideal classic example.