William Shakespeare: "Macbeth" - Why is Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero?

Essay by peddiejHigh School, 11th gradeC+, April 2006

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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 a violent individual.

The prophecies which were told by the witches to Macbeth were that he will be "Thane of Glamis!"(Act 1, Scene 3, line 48), "Thane of Cawdor!"(Act 1, Scene 3, Line 49) and "king hereafter"(Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 50) or become the King of Scotland. This was one of the factors which contributed to the fact that he posses a quality of a tragic hero a tragic hero (gullibility and ambition).

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 "Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff, Beware the Thane of Fife." (Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 72-73), "Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn The power of man; for none of women born Shall harm Macbeth" (Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 80-83), "Be lion-metted, proud, and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunshire hill Shall come against him.( Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 90-94) Shakespeare uses the...