Macbeth Argument Essay

957 words - 4 pages

Typical of Shakespeare’s works, the play Macbeth has a protagonist who ultimately experiences a downfall that lead to his demise. The protagonist or tragic hero of this play is Macbeth, once brave and honorable, who eventually becomes tyrannical and feared by many due to what Abrams describes as his “hamartia” or “error of judgment or, as it is often…translated, his tragic flaw.” In this case, Macbeth’s tragic flaw proves to be ambition; however, he cannot be held solely responsible for his downfall. As a result of many outside influential factors, including the witches’ prophecies and a rather coaxing and persuasive wife, one should not hold Macbeth entirely culpable for his actions and tragic end.
In the beginning of Act I, Macbeth is regarded by King Duncan and many others as a noble man, more specifically a “valiant cousin” and a “worthy gentlemen” due to his loyalty to the crown and courage in battle. As a reward for his courage and allegiance, Macbeth is to become the Thane of Cawdor in addition to his position as the Thane of Glamis. However, before notified of this “promotion,” Macbeth and Banquo meet with three witches who greet the men with prophecies regarding their futures. At this time, Macbeth is told he is to become Thane of Cawdor and the king of Scotland in the future, but the witches also give Banquo a prophecy that his descendants are also to become kings. In line 78 of scene iii, Macbeth questions their strange knowledge and commands, “Speak, I charge you,” in order to learn more about his future. Catching his attention with news of such value, his natural reaction is to inquire for more information. This can be considered a spark of Macbeth’s tragic flaw because selfishness begins to arise when he demands the witches to reveal more about him and his future. After the witches trigger Macbeth’s ambition, there are other people who play a role in his decline, the most important of those people being Lady Macbeth.
After Lady Macbeth was informed on the prophecies, she begins to reveal her real personality as a very pushy and persuasive woman who encourages her husband’s ambition. Lady Macbeth holds a large amount of responsibility for Macbeth’s downfall due to her very active role in their schemes to quench their selfish thirsts. In scene v of Act I, she begins to formulate a plan to kill King Duncan while he stays at her and Macbeth’s castle. Not only does she do most of the planning for this murder, but she says a prayer asking to make her blood thick so that she has the courage and fearlessness to assist her husband in the murder. By the end of the scene she states, “Only look up clear./To alter favor ever is to fear./Leave all the rest to me” (I.v,72-74). This is...

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