Macbeth-Tragic Hero Macbeth: Tragic Hero

In the Shakespearean play Macbeth, the character of Macbeth is a prime example of a tragic hero. His strengths are those associated with a man of greatness and superiority. He however has personal weakness and external influences that are more forceful which bring him down, and he turns out to be only as strong as his tragic flaw of ambition.
In the beginning of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a man of great bravery valiance, and loyalty. This is shown through his defense of Scotland in the battle against the traitor Macondwald. One wounded soldier in Act 1 scene 2, line 37-38, gives his description of Macbeth in that battle, “As cannons overcharged with double cracks; so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.” Macbeth’s men obviously look to him as being a powerful man. Through this performance Macbeth earns the trust and support of Duncan, the king of Scotland. With joyous news of the victory, in Act 1 scene 2, line 63-65, the king orders Ross to greet Macbeth with his new title, “No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive…and with his former title greet Macbeth.” With the killing of Macondwald, the former Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is now not only the Thane of Glamis, but the Thane of Cawdor as well.
Macbeth’s weaknesses play a bigger role in the play than do his strengths. His weaknesses are more potent than his strengths, which adds to his downfall. The prophecies of the three witches initiate the separation of Macbeth from his morals by showing him what could be if only he would yield to evil. “All hail Macbeth, thane of Glamis…thane of Cawdor…that shalt be king hereafter!” Act 1 scene 3, line 47-50. Macbeth’s reaction to these prophecies is mixed but his curiosity has the last word. “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more!” Act 1 scene 3, line 70. He wants to believe the prophecies, but has yet to find the truth in them until Ross brings news of his new title. Having heard this news he gives in to evil, and begins to trusts the witches. This is shown in Act 1 scene 3, line 116-117, as he says to himself, “Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind.” Macbeth is again influenced by the witches later in Act 4 scene 1 by their apparitions. The second apparition is especially influential. “ The power of man, for none woman born shall harm Macbeth.” Line 80-81. It makes Macbeth see himself as invincible and able to commit any crime he wants unchallenged.
More proof that Macbeth has agreed to yield to the evil is shown in Act 1 scene 4, line 50-51, after Duncan announces Malcolm as his heir and not Macbeth, Macbeth states to himself, “Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires.” His black and deep desire is to become king through the slaughtering of Duncan. This thought of killing Duncan bounces back and forth in his mind, but then is finally reinforced negatively by the influential words of Lady Macbeth. “Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire…like the poor cat i’ the adage?” Act 1 scene 7, line 39-44. What drives him over the top is when she attacks his manhood line 49-50 of the same scene, “When you durst do it, you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.” Lady Macbeth played the part of the final push Macbeth needed to carry out his evil deed. This shows how too easily others influenced Macbeth. He lacked a strong will to hold firm what he knew was right.
Macbeth was unable to control his ambition to the point where it became his tragic flaw. His ambition influenced his every thought. Once his desire to become king was fulfilled he had gone too far to go back. By relying solely on the witches prophecies he let his ambition lead him down the road of evil. His ambition led him to murder, which led to guilt, then to insanity which led to more murder, and then finally to his death.
Macbeth’s inability to grasp