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In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare explores the concepts of heroism and villainy. Macbeth is a tragic hero because of a grave error of judgment and his own ambition that causes him to murder others which ends up leading to chaos, destruction, and eventually his own death. His fall from grace carries impact, and this is what happened. Macbeth’s reputation begins with a positive outlook with his Christianity and , then as he ends up meeting the three witches. The term tragic hero is derived from a Greek word that means a person who faces adversity, or demonstrates courage, in the face of danger.
However, sometimes he faces downfall as well. When a hero confronts downfall, he is recognized as a tragic hero or protagonist. This is what Macbeth faces.
Throughout the play, Macbeth becomes highly intrigued by the advice that the witches give. He decides to follow this in his own way, which ends up leading to the murder of himself.
Macbeth thinks that he should kill Banquo because the witches say that there will be a future line of kings. Macbeth doesn’t want to lose the crown to Banquo or his son, so kills them both so the line will continue in his family. Macbeth also chooses to kill Macduff, even though the witches said no one would kill him. The witches did not really mislead Macbeth; they only put an idea into his head and left him to decide what action he should take. Banquo tries to warn Macbeth away from the prophecies.
Again he does not listen due to his stubbornness.
“Were such things here as we speak about? Or where we ate on the insane root. That takes the reason, prisoner?”, In Act 1 Scene 3, we hear in Macbeth’s soliloquy how he is planning to achieve his aim.
“Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and create my sitting heart knock at my ribs Against the employment of nature? Present fears square measure but horrifying imaginings.” Act 1, Scene 4, we find evidence that suggests that Macbeth is hardened about committing high stakes of danger. It’s quite obvious when Macbeth’s thoughts are dominated by ambition and power, he shows it in monologues, it also shows that this will be his tragic flaw and fatal downfall to things.
“I haven’t any spur to prick the perimeters of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’er-leaps itself and falls on the other” (Act 1 scene 7).
Throughout the rest of Macbeth’s tragic story, he manages to spiral down to his destruction through critical stages. The stages of his state of mind ring out clearly for the audience through the logic he puts to every one of his murders until finally he’s killed. This death seems just and unsurprising as this was the only ending that seemed possible to eventuate. Macbeth also had the choice to become either a hero or a villain. Obviously, he chooses the wrong path. He ends up being the one to decide to kill innocent people due to his own insecurities of losing the crown to both Banquo and his son. We see this when he seeing the dagger hovering in front of him that he is basically telling him that he is about to commit the death of the king. He receives the crown for the king of Scotland moments later. He then runs into Banquo putting the crown on his son’s head and acting as if he will soon become king. Macbeth is threatened by this and immediately takes action and decides to kill. So here we see the tragic hero side of him because he’s only rescuing himself from being removed or taken from being king.
Towards the end of the play, Macbeth’s last sword fight with Macduff really shows Macbeth’s true colors by the way his body starts to slow down and deteriorate. He continues to fight until Macduff knocks him to his knees.
“I will not yield
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet
And to be baited by the rabble’s curse.” Act 5, Scene 8
Macduff then kills the all-mighty Macbeth. The witches predict that Macduff will not be killed anyway and the reason for this is Macduff is not born of a woman he was a caesarean section and Macbeth believes he cannot be killed by any born men or woman. In the end, Macbeth’s head gets taken to Malcolm and Macduff is labeled the king of Scotland Macbeth, in the end, is the villain to Scotland. But in Hein sight, he is the tragic hero so its kind of a win-win for both Macbeth and Macduff.
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