Macbeth and the Traits of a Tragic Hero

Topics: Plays

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Some heroes are heroic and some are tragic. Shakespeare was known for writing pieces with tragic heroes. Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes. The three traits that best demonstrate how Macbeth is a tragic hero are his tragic flaw, his downfall, and his increased awareness.

Having a tragic flaw is one of the major traits of a tragic hero that applies to Macbeth. His tragic flaw throughout the whole play was that he had unchecked ambition and desire for power.

This was one of the major reasons for his downfall. He did many things to gain prestige and power that backfired on him and ruined his life. Throughout the entire play, Macbeth’s ambition led him to make many questionable decisions that ultimately ruined his character and led to his death.An example in the play of where Macbeth shows his unchecked desire to be king is directly after he receives the witch’s prophecy.

He says “My thought whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that function is smothered in surmise and nothing is but what is not” (Shakespeare 357).By saying this Macbeth meant that he could kill the king and fulfill the prophecy and become the new king. This shows his willingness to commit terrible acts to gain the prestige and power he desires.Macbeth’s tragic flaw of unchecked ambition greatly affects his character throughout the entire play.

Macbeth and the Traits of a Tragic Hero Macbeth and the Traits of a Tragic Hero Macbeth and the Traits of a Tragic Hero

Another trait of a tragic hero that Macbeth displays is that he has a downfall.

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Macbeth begins the story as a well-respected man in his community.He has some power and is of the higher class, but he eventually becomes greedy and wants to acquire more power and prestige which eventually leads to his downfall. Macbeth’s mental downfall begins when he decides that he is going to kill Duncan and he begins hallucinating about the murder.After murdering the king and Banquo Macbeth’s mental state begins to deteriorat…

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Macbeth and the Traits of a Tragic Hero. (2019, Oct 09). Retrieved from

Macbeth and the Traits of a Tragic Hero
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