Jan 30, 2010
In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, many instances lead to the downfall of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a character of courage and strength, who makes bad decisions that lead to tragedy. In this play, tragedy is caused by Macbeth and this makes him the tragic hero who causes his own downfall and the downfall of others. The downfalls in Macbeth are mainly caused by Macbeth’s ambition, power, and fate.
Ambition is the most common act that causes a downfall in Macbeth. Ambition is the desire to achieve something. This is evident in the play as Macbeths strives to become king and tries to prevent fate from occurring. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, ... Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is But what is not.” (1.3.911). After the witches predict that Macbeth will become king, his thoughts turn to murder. Macbeth’s ambition fulfills the witches’ prophecy for becoming king, but also awakens an unknown side of Macbeth’s ambition towards murder. Macbeth’s ambition towards murder is what leads to his first downfall in the play.
“Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties ... so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off;” (1.7.1-3). In this quote Macbeth deliberates whether or not his plans to kill Duncan are justifiable. Macbeth’s want for power is so strong that he is almost willing to do anything to obtain it. Macbeth has thoughts of murdering Duncan, because he wants the power Duncan has. “The son of Duncan, From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth.."(3.6.1-2).The lord says this not long after Macbeth is crowned king. Macbeth is now viewed as a tyrant because he takes over the throne that Duncan’s son Malcolm was suppose to be heir to. Macbeths desire for power has disrupted the royal line, which brings the next downfall in the play.
Fate is what leads...