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William Shakespeares Macbeth a play written for the Elizabethan Theater circa 1606 tells the story of an esteemed Scottish nobleman who rises to the throne by murder and subterfuge only to descend again into madness and damnation Critics through the years have heralded Macbeth as one of the finest English tragedies by Englands finest dramatist However some might still ask Is Macbeth truly a tragic hero or is he simply the protagonist of a bleak satire doomed by powers beyond his control The answer to the former can be only an adamant Yes Before one can fully understand that Macbeth is a deeply tragic character it must first be established in brief what a tragedy is and that Macbeth is one Shakespearean drama inherits many of its roots from the Greek drama of many centuries before Aristotle the quintessential philosopher of the Greek era considered tragedy to be a genre that is serious in nature deals with the emotions of pity and terror and gives the audience a heightened sense of being through the catharsis of these emotions In his book Poetics which is widely considered to be the first definitive model of literary criticism Aristotle stated that Tragedy then is an imitation of an action that is serious complete and of a certain magnitude Macbeth meets these criteria Moreover Aristotle required that a tragedy must be composed of six traits plot character diction thought spectacle and song Without question these traits are easily mastered by Shakespeare in Macbeth As can be seen Macbeth meets the criteria of a tragedy at least as long as its title character meets the criteria of a tragic hero According to Aristotle the area where most so-called tragedies fail is the rendition of the tragic hero but this is where Macbeth truly excels A tragic hero according to Aristotle must be a great man who is destroyed by his hamartia or a tragic flaw Macbeths flaws are
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