Actions and Their Consequences
Macbeth is the ideal classical tragedy featuring a tragic hero. A classical tragedy always has the following characteristics; involves person of nobility or wealth, contains a tragic hero who enables a tragic flaw, hubris; causes the hero to believe he can work around a moral law, which leads to failure, peripeteia; a complete reversal of fortune, from happiness to disaster and the occurrence of catastrophes. A tragic hero always possesses a fatal flaw in which the protagonist has a moral weakness or human error that causes the protagonist's downfall. Ultimately, Macbeth is the ideal example of a tragedy in result to, his ambition leading to his downfall, his divine judgment is achieved in the end and through peripetiea; the complete reversal of fortune whereby happiness leads to disaster.
Slowly but surely Macbeths ambition leads to his downfall. As the play progresses we see his actions create consequences. For brave Macbeth well he deserves that name/disdaining fortune/with his brandishd steel (Act I, Scene 2:18-19).At this point in the story Macbeth has won the war for Scotland by killing Macdonwald and a soldier is explaining the great act of braveness and loyalty demonstrated by Macbeth. This is a positive action committed due to Macbeths ambition because he willing to risk his life for his country and is able to lead Scotland to victory, although Macbeth may seem like a brave ambitious kinsman at the start, he does display his ambition in many negative ways Macbeth has been given 3 prophecies from the witches that corrupts Macbeth to steer his ambition into negative actions. For example, with two of the three prophecies reflecting the truth, Macbeth now feels determined to kill a very well-respected King, in order for him to be crowned I go, and it is done;/the bell invites me hear it not Duncan/for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell(Act 2, Scene 1:69-71).This is where Macbeth starts to lose sight of reality and leads his ambition into desiring the power of being King by means of a tragedy occurring
Through the play Macbeth, Divine Judgment is clearly portrayed. A.C Bradley (English Literary Scholar) presents characteristics of Shakespearian heroes in his book Shakespearean Tragedy. One of these characteristics is evidentially shown through the play Macbeth. This characteristic is titled Nemesis, which means a divine judgment or retribution is achieved at the end, usually where the hero succumbs to death. In the play Macbeth, the divine retribution and judgment of Macbeth is seen through his nemesis, Macduff. Macbeth and Macduff are enemies and have bad blood in result to the actions of Macbeth. Eventually, Macbeth learns of Macduff's plans to flee to England with Malcolm to help overthrow Macbeths throne, and orders his family to be killed. Macbeth states," From this moment/the very firstlings of my heart shall be the/ firstlings of my hand". (Act 4 Scene 1 line 147) When he states this he is now determined to kill Macduffs family.
Macbeth is the ideal example of a tragedy through peripeteia. Peripeteia is defined as the reversal of circumstances or turning point. The escape of Fleance is the turning point or peripeteia in Macbeth's tragedy. Banquo's dying words, ordering Fleance to revenge. "Banquo: O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou mayst revenge. O slave.(Act 3, Scene 3)Immediately after this scene, already Macbeths anxiety is overbearing. He begins to lose confidences and seeks the witchs guidance. The witches then leadhim to his downfall by filling him with confidence. The combination of the escape of Fleance and the witches misguidance, lead Macbeth to his downfall and is the turning point within the play. After this escape only misfortune is created for Macbeth. Things only fall apart from here on forward. As written by Harold Bloom Macbeth Shakespeares one tragedy of damnation is widely acknowledged.Therefore, through peripeteia and the events of Macbeths life going from happiness to utter disaster creates another reason why Macbeth is a prime example of a tragedy
Macbeth was a character who started off as a well-respected and loyal man of Scotland. He was a skilled and brave warrior who was rewarded for his actions. Although he was good hearted the influences that were guiding him were not. Unfortunately, he possessed a fatal flaw that led his life into a complete negative direction that led to his tragedy. Therefore, Macbeth is the ideal example of a tragedy in result to, his ambition leading to his downfall, his divine judgment is achieved in the end and through peripetiea; the complete reversal of fortune whereby happiness leads to disaster.
Bradley, A.C.. Shakespearian tragedy: lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. London: Macmillan, 1951. Print
Harold Bloom. "A Painted Devil: "Macbeth.." Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations: Macbeth (1987): 91-111. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 23 Nov. 2010.