Macbeth by Shakespeare -tragic hero

Essay by jcjigga8876High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero fits Macbeth very well. In Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, Macbeth has all of the characteristics that are needed to be a tragic hero. Macbeth is a man of great potential and is a man of noble birth, he has a tragic flaw with a downfall and moment of recognition, and also creates cathartic feelings of fear and sadness. These qualities that he possesses help shape himself as the tragic hero of Macbeth.

In the beginning of the play, Macbeth and Banquo are returning from a battle between the Scottish and Norwegians. They have won the battle for King Duncan, and this shows Macbeth's loyalty to his king. Macbeth is related to King Duncan, which is how he fulfills being a man of noble birth. Macbeth and Banquo meet three witches as they are returning to Scotland, making three prophecies. The witches say "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis...

thane of Cawdor...All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!" (I.3. 49-50). These three prophecies show how he has become thane of Glamis, how he will become than of Cawdor, and eventually become King. This is part of his great potential. He has already accomplished so much, but still has so much more to live for because one day he will be king.

At first Macbeth does not believe the witches, but soon after, Ross tells Macbeth that the current thane of Cawdor is going to be killed. This surprises Macbeth, because already the witch's first two prophecies have come true. Macbeth thinks, and becomes ambitious. He realizes that he is no where near the runner-up if Duncan is to die because he has sons that would be heirs to the thrown before him. Macbeth's tragic flaw is ambition, which he...