All stories have a tragic hero, and all tragic heroes have a tragic flaw. Macbeth, the tragic hero, has his own tragic flaw or flaws. His tragic flaws help bring on tragedies in the play. Lady Macbeth, Banquo, and Macduff. In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare uses tragic elements to express the idea that everybody has a tragic flaw that could lead to their tragic downfall through temptation, betrayal, and deception.
Temptation can cause many people to change the way that they would normally act. Macbeth is tempted by the possibilities of what his future could be that were promised by the witches when they greeted him. The first witch says, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!” The second witch says, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!” The Third witch says, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!”(327) The second witch had called him a title that he had yet to receive but did not long after. This caused Macbeth the think that they could be telling the truth. Lady Macbeth has her own temptation. After hearing that the king is coming she tells Macbeth, “He that’s coming/ Must be provided for: and you shall put/ This night’s great business into my dispatch;”(336) Knowing that the king was coming to the her house, Lady Macbeth thought that it was a sign that he was meant to be king. Why else would King Duncan be coming to the house right after Macbeth got the new title? Temptation can hit people in different ways but temptation will always lead to tragedy.
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At the beginning of the play Macbeth would never betray his king of his wife and it is a tragic turn of events.. Macbeth betrays his wife when he is planning the murder of his best friend. When told by Lady Macbeth that he should leave Banquo and Fleance alone he tells her, “Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.”(366) Macbeth is easy to withhold the information of his play from his wife so that she is innocent to another murder. He does this for his own benefit but tries to make it out as if it is for hers. Macbeth betrays King Duncan when he murders him in cold blood. Lady Macbeth had been trying to convince Macbeth to go through with the murder of Duncan and he tells her, “I am settled, and bend up/ Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.”(339) He would have never gone through with the murder or the betrayal of his king but Lady Macbeth is able to turn his intentions to negative. This all comes right back around when he later betrays Lady Macbeth as well.
Deception can hide the true intentions that someone has. Macbeth wants Banquo dead and deceives two men by convincing them that all of their problems are Banquo’s fault. Macbeth tells them, “Both of you/ Know Banquo was your enemy.”(364) He was willing to completely change two people’s views on a person with the lies he was telling. Deception was a simply act for him. He deceives the men again when he tells them that he is willing to kill Banquo. When talking to the murderers he tells them, “I could/ With barefaced power sweep him from my sight/ And bid my will avouch it, yet i must not.”(364) He could not kill Banquo himself so he convinced others to do the act for him. It shows how the changes in his character affected the outcome of the play.
In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare uses tragic elements to express the idea that everybody has a tragic flaw that could lead to their tragic downfall through temptation, betrayal, and deception. Tragedy’s are made because of the tragic events that happen in life that occur because of a person’s tragic flaw. Shakespeare brought these to life in Macbeth. He didn’t plan for Macbeth to go down in history for these lessons in the play to be taught continuously through life.
Gluck, Victor. “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Back Stage, 25 May 2001, p. 40. Fine Arts and Music Collection, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A75333469/PPFA?u=avlr&sid=PPFA&xid=a9cee19b. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019
“Macbeth.” Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 28 Feb. 2017. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Macbeth/161. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019..
“‘The Tragedy of Macbeth, Part II’.” Back Stage, National ed., 11 Feb. 2010, p. 31. Fine Arts and Music Collection, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A220443104/PPFA?u=avlr&sid=PPFA&xid=77afe444. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019.
“‘The Tragedy of Macbeth, Part II’.” Back Stage, National ed., 11 Mar. 2010, p. 30. Fine Arts and Music Collection, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A222548838/PPFA?u=avlr&sid=PPFA&xid=d1556e42. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019.
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