Brian BozarthBozarth 1Mrs. ThurmondEnglish IV 6February 22, 2001Macbeths Tragic FlawEvery one has a character flaw. Some are more serious than others. For instance, some people pick their nose, while others drink milk directly from the carton. After a while a persons character flaws will come back to haunt them. Shakespeare is a master at pointing out ones character flaws and showing how those flaw bring down that person or society in general. In Shakespeares Macbeth he does just that. Macbeth is a tragic hero whose character flaws are ambition and avarice.
The play opens with Macbeth, a popular noble who quells a military coup against the King of Scotland by a Scottish nobleman, Macdonwald. This is looked at by other nobles as and honorable deed. The King then gives Macbeth the late Macdonwalds former title. In this instance ambition is a good thing: but alls to week for brave Macbeth well he deserves that name (I ii 16). The king even said O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman(I ii 24).
His ambition was use to do a good thing, but if you stop to think; would any of this happened had he not killed Macdonwald. In the next scene we see the witches doing things that witches like to do. Then enters Macbeth with Banquo. They spot the witches and Banquo insults them. The witches turn to Macbeth and tell him he will be king: All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter (I iii 50).
That single line is what sparks Maspeths evil ambition. This is the also the point when Macbeth start to turn evil. The witches also tell Macbeth he will become Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth replies to all this:to be king stands not within the prospect of belief (I iii 75). At this point Macbeth is skeptical, but then Ross tells him he is thane of Cawdor. Macbeth starts to believe he can become king. He is now successor to the throne of Scotland. Since Macbeth is heir to the throne of Scotland, all he has to do is get rid of King Duncan. In scene IV Duncan names his son the Prince of Cumberland. Macbeth is outraged: The Prince of Cumberland! That is a stepOn which I must fall down, or else oerlap,For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;Let not light se my black and deep desires:The eye wink at the hand; yet let that beWhich the eye fears, when it is done, to see (I v 48-53).
In these lines we can clearly see Macbeths desire to become King and his willingness to do anything to get there. Now he has to get rid of Duncan and Malcom. Fate has it that Duncan will be staying at Macbeths castle, Inverness. Here is where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plot to kill Duncan. If it were done when tis done, then twere wellIt were done quickly. If th assassinationCould trammel up the consequence, and catch,With his surcease, success; that but this blowMight be the be-all and the end-all-here,But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,Wed jump the life to come. But in these casesWe still have judgment here; that we but teachBloody instructions, which, being taught, returnTo plague thinventor: this even-handed justiceCommends th ingredients of out poisoned chaliceTo our own lips. Hes here in double trust:Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,Who should against his murderer shut the door,Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this DuncanHath borne his facilities so meek, hath beenSo clear in his great office, that his virtuesWill plead like angels trumpet-tongued againstThe deep damnation of his taking-off;And pity, like a naked newborn babe,Striding the blast, or heavens cherubin horsedUpon the sightless couriers of the airShall blow the horrid deed in every eye,That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spurTo prick the sides of my intent, but onlyVaulting ambition which oerleaps itselfAnd falls on th other(I vii 1-28)Macbeth knows he will be condemned to hell if he does it, but he killsDuncan anyway because of vaulting ambition. Macbeth even says This himself. In the end Macduff kills Macbeth because he is an evil tyrant.
Ironically in the beginning of the play, Macbeth is awarded Thane ofCawdor for stopping a traitor from becoming king. He became in the end what he set out to destroy in the beginning. Because of vaulting ambition, Macbeths character flaw destroyed him in the end.
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