A tragic hero was defined by Aristotle as one who makes a error of judgement that eventually leads to their own destruction. Aristotle once had said that “A man doesn’t become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.” In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth the protagonist Macbeth is a true example of a tragic hero as he had countless noble qualities coupled with several tragic flaws. He holds an importance to his society; in the beginning a fearless nationalist, fighting for his country and then eventually he became king. Macbeth did have some major character flaws such as, his great ambition and he had made many grave errors in judgement, one of them being the murder of the King of Scotland. For the duration of events in the plot Macbeth progressively become more and more miserable. There were outside forces which contributed to his corruption; the main force would be the three witches. A Shakespearean tragic hero contains all or most of the following qualities: providing a moral example to the audience, suffering public embarrassment, and meeting his doom with courage and dignity which Macbeth did all of. With it taken into consideration, Macbeth is most definitely a tragic hero.
With Macbeth becoming more important in the plot is one of the crucial reasons to why he became a tragic hero in the end. Macbeth was a Scottish general, who was a fearless man and his performance in Scotland’s battle was celebrated greatly in the beginning of the play. Macbeth’s performance was described by the Captain as “Cannons overcharged with double cracks, so the doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe” (1.2.41-42) With Macbeth doing so well and receiving such positive feedback, King Duncan couldn’t help but be so overjoyed with Macbeth. With all of the valiant news Duncan’s only response was to upgrade Macbeth’s title from Thane of Glamis to Thane of Cawdor. “No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest. Go, pronounce his present death, and with his former title greet Macbeth” (1.2.73-76); “What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.” (1.2.78).
Many of Macbeth’s major character flaws were displayed along with his weaknesses and serious errors in judgement in the duration of the play. After he received all the recognition from his success in battle along with his title being upgraded, the ambition he had to become king couldn’t not rise. His ambition to become King was too heavy and they overtook his morals in the end after meeting the witches’ and hearing his prophecies. When his ambition was combined with the witches’ prophecies it was as if he no longer had morals since he was easily persuaded into what he’d like to hear. When Macbeth is thinking of murdering Duncan to become King his ambition takes control for a moment, but then his morality takes back over. “Why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature?” (1.3.147-150). When Macbeth recognizes that he is opening up to his temptation, he begins to question himself as of why. But, he begins to persuade himself into believing that the temptation of committing murder can’t be as daunting as he thinks it is, “Present fears are less than horrible imaginings” (1.3.150-151). In layman’s term his only fear is fear itself. Macbeth is portrayed as this brave man, whose wife manipulates him by insulting and accusing him of being cowardice, which he believes he has to prove to be false. His moral decision is completely overlooked by his growing ambition when he hears of Malcolm’s succession to the throne.