The character of Macbeth is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. There are many factors that contribute to the degeneration of Macbeth of which three will be discussed. The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth’s degeneration are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth’s judgment, and finally Macbeth’s long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth’s growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual. The prophecies that were told by the witches were one of the factors that contributed to the degeneration of his character.
If it had not been for the witches telling him that he was to be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland, Macbeth would still be his ordinary self. As a result of the prophecies, this aroused Macbeth’s curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies. Shakespeare uses the witches as a remedy for Macbeth’s curiosity that corrupts his character. The influence of Macbeth’s wife, Lady Macbeth also contributed to his degeneration of character.
Lady Macbeth’s character in the beginning reveals that she is a lovable person. When Lady Macbeth was ready to kill King Duncan herself, it showed that Lady Macbeth could not murder King Duncan because he reminded her of her father. This proves that Lady Macbeth has a heart deep inside her. Lady Macbeth plays an important role in this play because she provided a scheme that caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had killed King Duncan, he later regrets on his wrongdoing. At the point of this play the audience can note the change in Macbeth’s character.
Macbeth’s first murder was a trying experience for him, however after the first murder, killing seemed to be the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland. Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth who introduced the concept of murder to Macbeth. Macbeth’s ambition also influenced his declining character. However, Macbeth’s ambition had not been strong enough to carry the motive to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s influence also comes in to play because if not for Lady Macbeth, his ambition would not have been intensified enough to drive him to obtain and maintain his title of King of Scotland no matter what it took, even if it meant murdering. Macbeth’s ambition influenced the cause of his new character.
This new character of Macbeth contained greed, violence, and power hunger. Macbeth shows this when he kills King Duncan. In conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth’s influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed greatly to his degeneration of character that resulted to his downfall..death. Therefore Macbeth character displays strong signs of a tragic hero, making him the ideal classic example.