December 4th, 2012 A Tragic Hero: Macbeth
In Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, the reader observes the consequences of allowing one’s desires to rule their actions. The character Macbeth is the captain of Duncan’s army, and is later given the title Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor. He is a good man but unfortunately allows his ideals to cloud his judgment. However, he is easily influenced by the suggestions from Lady Macbeth as well as the prophecies of the Three Witches. Macbeth as the tragic hero easily allows his ambition, fear, and overconfidence to supersede his morals leading to not only his death, but also the collapse of his country.
First, Macbeth’s ambition fogs his morality and leads him to commit crimes he would not otherwise do. Upon the prophecies introduced by the Three Witches and Lady Macbeth’s suggestions, he pursues goals which did not exist before. However, these new ambitions drive Macbeth to his own downfall. Being blinded by his selfish ambition, he is more focused on the good of himself, rather than the good of his country. Macbeth states, “The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step/On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,/For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires,/Let not light see my black and deep desires.” (Macbeth 1.5.48-51) The significance of what Macbeth says is that is reveals his destructive ambition. From this quote, the reader observes Macbeth’s ambitious force, and how he will go as far as murder to possess what he desires. He then realizes that in order to attain the power he desires, he must commit bloody crimes to those who stand in his way. This scene took place as Duncan declares Malcolm as heir to the throne of Scotland, which Macbeth was not pleased to hear. The prophecies proclaim that Macbeth will be the next king, not Malcolm. When Macbeth is hearing that Malcolm is the heir to the throne, he realizes that in order to acquire the power he desires; he must act brutally to those who stand between himself and the crown. Macbeth is known as the tragic hero because of how his ideals lead to his downfall. He was overly ambitious as well as blinded by his desires, and as a result, it forces him to complete deeds which then lead to his downfall.
Additionally, Macbeth’s overconfidence contributes to his downfall. It lacks his ability to make logical decisions, and as a result, he supposes that he is unable to be harmed. His high degree of overconfidence blinded him and persuaded him to make the wrong choices. The quote said by Siward states, “We learn no other but the confident tyrant/Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure/Our setting down before 't.” (Macbeth 5.4.8-10) The importance of this quote is to demonstrate Macbeth’s hubris and how it eventually leads to his downfall. In this scene Macduff, Malcolm, King Edward and the rest of the English army are heading towards Scotland to take back the land that they have lost to Macbeth. As the English army slowly moves towards Scotland, Macbeth’s overconfidence allows