Macbeth is, in all ways, a tragic hero.
His greatness led to his obsession and then to his shocking, yet inevitable, downfall. The play thoroughly illustrates his rise and fall through a tragic story of man versus himself. At the beginning, the reader sees a man with a conscience and a mind. But after the turn of many events and Macbeth’s constant fear of being caught, he becomes weak. Macbeth is extremely passionate about becoming king.
In the first act, his motivation comes mostly from his wife. However, after he is king his determination to keep the title changes to an obsession. Because of this, hi greatness turns against him and his passionate nature causes him to become out of control. Macbeth creates walls around himself. He uses the witches prophecies and Lady Macbeth’s reassurance to convince himself that he is oblivious to all. One example of this is when he says “But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn/ Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born” (V.7.16-17) His deeply flawed judgement makes him vulnerable.
The downfall of Macbeth’s social estate and his personal self come simultaneously. We see foreshadowing when Lady Macbeth says “These deeds must not be thought/ After these ways; so, it will make us mad” (II.2.40-41) While he is going crazy others detect that he is evil. I grant him bloody Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin That has a name (IV.3.70-73) One must be strong inside to be a leader and inspiration to others. When personal strength diminishes, onlookers can sense that, and lost respect and loyalty. Other characters are noticing Macbeth’s corruption. “Not in the legions/ Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d/ In evils to top Macbeth” (IV.3.66-69) Though readers know how evil he is, they are sad to see him lose in the end.
The reader becomes attached to Macbeth throughout the story. They know his weaknesses and his feelings. It is no surprise that shocked and upset are common emotions. In the moments before his death, Macbeth realizes what he has done wrong but is ready to move on from his tragic life.
By the end of the play he is exhausted and welcomes relief. The only way he sees relief though is through death. But compared to a life of fear and deception, he readily accepts it. It is not until the end of the play that Macbeth realizes his mistakes. If he had it all to do over again, perhaps everything would have worked out. His passionate and obsessive nature prevent him from holding onto all he has worked for.
He becomes the perfect model of a tragic hero. And it all makes for a good story and a good lesson in life.