Why Macbeth is a Tragic Hero



The play, “Macbeth”, by Shakespeare shows how Macbeth gains the crown through bloodshed and ends up dying because of it.  Macbeth is a tragic hero because he is a person of some stature or high position such as a king, he suffers both outwardly (isolation, alienation, attacks) and inwardly (tortured conscience), and he has a distorted perception of or is blind to, reality. 

Macbeth is a tragic hero because he is a person of some stature or high position such as a king. In the play Macbeth, the first king is Duncan but Macbeth makes himself become the king after hearing some prophecies and doing some killing. For example, when Macbeth is getting crowned, every thane and noble is there except for Macduff, but this issue shows Macbeth’s high rank. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero is someone of a high position, and in this play, Macbeth becomes the king so he fits this characteristic of a tragic hero.

Furthermore, Macbeth should be considered a tragic hero because he suffers from outward attacks and inward attacks. Macbeth suffers outward attacks from none other than Macduff and Malcolm who gathered an army that took him down. Macbeth suffers inward attacks from those who oppose him because after killing king Duncan he has a suspicion of everyone and just kills them, for example, he kills Banquo then Macduff’s Family. This inward attack messes with his brain and his conscience which drives him insane. This shows that Macbeth is a tragic hero because he falls under this characteristic of a Shakespearean Tragic Hero (From Aristotle). 

Moreover, Macbeth falls into the role of a tragic hero because he is blinded and has a distorted perception of reality. Macbeth is blinded to reality because he thinks the world revolves around what the witches say, but instead, the witches catch a sense of this weakness of Macbeth and toy with him to make him do what the witches want. Macbeth has a distorted perception of reality because he thinks about all the negative things that happen way too much and this has a huge impact on his mental well-being. For example, in act 2, scene 1 line 32 when Macbeth sees the illusion of the floating dagger. The floating dagger shows how unstable his mental condition is and how these distorted perceptions make him think. These distorted perceptions also make him talk to himself as if life is worthless, For example, in act 5 scene 5 line 24 Macbeth says, “Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more,” this shows that this problem is making him think differently about reality so that’s why he falls under this characteristic of a Shakespearean tragic hero.

Lastly, Macbeth is a tragic hero because he is a person of high rank, he suffers from both physical and mental attacks, and he is blinded to reality. This is why Macbeth falls under the Shakespearean tragic hero by Aristotle.