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Sometimes a tragic hero is created not through his own villainy but rather through some flaw in him he being one of those who are in high station and good fortune like Oedipus and Thyestes and the famous men of such families as those Poetics Aristotle Every great tragedy is dominated by a protagonist who has within himself a tragic flaw too much or too little of one of Aristotles twelve virtues In Macbeth by William Shakespeare Macbeth a great Scottish general and thane of Glamis has just won an important battle when he is told by three witches that he will become thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland After Macbeth is given Cawdor by King Duncan he takes the witches words for truth and conspires against Duncan with his wife When Duncan comes to Macbeths castle that night Macbeth kills him and takes the crown for himself after Duncans sons flee from Scotland Then Macbeth reigns for a while has several people killed and is eventually slain by Macduff when he and Malcolm return leading the armies of England Often people read the play and automatically conclude that Macbeths tragic flaw is his ambition that he is compelled to commit so many acts of violence by his lust for power However by carefully examining the first act one can determine the defect in Macbeths character that creates his ambition his true tragic flaw Macbeths tragic flaw is not his ambition as most people believe but rather his trust in the words of the witches and in his wifes decisions At the beginning of the play Macbeth has no designs on the throne and he does not start plotting until his wife comes up with a plan When first faced with the witches words Macbeth expresses astonishment and disbelief rather than welcoming them when he says to be King stands not within the prospect of belief no more than to
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