Macbeth's True Tragic Flaw Essay

758 words - 4 pages

In the years between 1603 and 1607, the famous playwright William Shakespeare wrote one of his most famous tragedies, The Tragedy of Macbeth. The play tells the story of Macbeth, a Scottish thane that is visited by three witches and told that one day he will be king. With this prophecy in hand Macbeth, urged on by his wife, kills King Duncan and takes the throne. However, he soon descends into madness, murdering anyone that threatens his claim to power. It is only when a rebel army storms his castle that Macbeth’s reign of terror comes to an end. Many argue that Macbeth’s tragic flaw is his unbridled ambition. However, a flaw that is even more glaring is Macbeth’s passiveness. He cannot ...view middle of the document...

1.62). His inability to act on this symbol of guilt at what he is about to do leads to his downfall.
The last example of Macbeth’s tragic flaw of passiveness is when he is informed of his wife’s death. Lady Macbeth kills herself and a terrible shriek is heard throughout the castle. While he does feel some misery from his wife’s suicide, he continues to await the advancing rebel forces, not backing down. He does not decide to flee upon the news of this untimely death. Instead, he remains in his castle and awaits the inevitable battle between him and Macduff, the rebel leader. He does not stop to think about what his chosen path has done. Indeed, shortly after hearing the news he threatens another messenger: “If thou speak’st false / Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive / Till famine cling thee” (5.5.38-40). Macbeth’s inability to act on his wife’s death is his final major mistake, a mistake that will seal his fate.
Unbridled ambition is another flaw many point to as Macbeth’s main tragic flaw. In some ways this is true. It is his ambition that...

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