Macbeth is a Tragic Hero
"Shakespeare's tragic hero is a man of noble birth who falls from a position of honor and respect due to a flaw in his character. He freely chooses a course of action which ultimately causes him suffering and brings him to a fatal end."(Campbell 129) Macbeth is the epitome of a tragic hero who rises high then falls rock bottom to his death. Macbeth, once a noble man, follows the advice of witches, finds himself King, abuses his power and then gets killed. Macbeth goes through four stages until he reaches the end of his life; his original state, his tragic flaw, his downfall and finally his suffering. These four stages help to justify Shakespeare's tragic hero.
Macbeth's original state is noble yet frail and cowardly. In the beginning of Macbeth, we find Macbeth to be an anti-hero, one of no courage or strength in mind. One of whom can not make his own decisions without the aid of his wife, Lady Macbeth. However, Macbeth is likeable and people respect him for what he is. Although, a soldier on the outside, inside, we find Macbeth to be somewhat of a coward. When Macbeth encounters the witches, we find him to be quite afraid and unable to speak, while Banquo pleads for their answers. Macbeth takes the witches' advice as an invitation to kill Duncan in order to uphold the position of king. Macbeth is too afraid to do it until his wife, Lady Macbeth, who plays a more masculine role then Macbeth himself, coaxes him to kill Duncan. "We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place and we'll not fail..." (1.7.69-71). This is the turning point, the place where Macbeth makes a wrong turn into darkness, one he can not turn back. After killing Duncan without being caught, he becomes King and the problems start to occur.
Macbeth's "position of honor and respect" is when he is King. In the wake of King Duncan's murder, Macbeth is well liked and treated with respect by the people, but this soon changes as his character starts to shatter with the amount of power on his hands. In this second stage of Macbeth's life, we find him to be stronger, yet he does not use his strength and bravery to good use. His new found strength mixes with his paranoia and his appetite for power creating him into a tyrant king. Macbeth's next wrong turn is calling on murderers to kill Banquo because of fears that Banquo's children will hold the throne. He calls the murderers with no fear and no worries. This time making the decision to kill Banquo on his own without the coaxing of Lady Macbeth. Without mentioning it to Lady Macbeth, the murderers carry on killing Banquo while Macbeth goes on. Yet, something is not right with Macbeth. This new found bravery and power in his character has turned into a flaw on Macbeth's part. He is suddenly struck with guilt...