Could someone who kills innocent people possibly be considered a hero? In William Shakespeare\'s tragic drama "Macbeth" this question is raised. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle there are certain requirements that categorize a person to be a tragic hero, some of which Macbeth does possess. However, Macbeth does not complete the entire cycle of requirements. Although many readers believe that Macbeth exemplifies Aristotle\'s tragic hero, in reality he does not comply with this definition. He is not outstanding and virtuous, nor does he achieve insightful recognition or redemption.
Macbeth is not outstanding and virtuous because someone who needs to brutally kill someone else to get what they want does not fit the characteristics of a hero. He does many things wrong. Macbeth\'s over-zealousness for political power leads him to the murder of Duncan, the assassination of Banquo, and finally to the slaughter of Macduff\'s family. These events urge the uprising that eventually costs Macbeth his crown and his life, not to mention the wife he loses along the way (Studer 1). Worst of all, Macbeth disturbs the balance of nature. If he had just waited for his time, he would have been king, and have had a chance to enjoy it.
Macbeth is not a tragic hero because a man is responsible for his own actions and this is the case with Macbeth. By deceiving and murdering his friends, he proves he is not a hero. He lets himself be corrupted by the prophecies of the witches. This weakness demonstrates that he lacks the qualities to be a hero (Johnson 1).
He also neglects his wife in her time of mental instability while he is drunk with power. After Lady Macbeth participates in the killing of Duncan, her psychological status gradually shifts downward. She gets to the point of deliria, feeling guilty for the gruesome murders her husband is committing. This is exemplified in the quote:
Out damned spot! Out, I say! One: two: why, then \'tis time to do \'t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fir! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call out poe\'r to accompt? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? (314).
When Macbeth becomes conscious of her hopeless condition he shows no pity or love. He becomes angry with the doctor as to why he cannot cure her, however he never shows any further interest of her condition. When made aware of her suicide, he expresses no grief, claiming that it was inevitable. "She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word (320)."
Furthermore, Macbeth is not a tragic hero because he does not achieve insightful recognition. He loses any respect he had from the nobles and the people of Scotland. "This tyrant whose sole name blisters our tongues, was once thought honest: you have loved him well;" (304). In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is merely a nobleman and a Scottish general in King Duncan\'s army. Macbeth later becomes the deserving Thane of Glamis and Cawdor and the undeserving King of Scotland. (Dominic 255).
Macbeth also kills his former best friend Banquo. A true hero would never extinguish his allies or friends. Banquo is killed because he knows too much about the murder of Duncan. But that is not his fatal flaw. Banquo\'s fatal flaw is that although he knows that Macbeth killed Duncan, he really does not do anything about it. He did not deserve death, just because he did not act quickly in telling someone that Macbeth killed Duncan.
Finally, Macbeth is not a tragic hero because he does not achieve redemption or insightful recognition. While committing his malicious sins and killings he shows no remorse towards his actions. He becomes such a careless man, letting his malevolent ambition take over all of his actions. The only remorse that ever enters Macbeth\'s body is when he is finally faced with the fear of his own death.
Even though Macbeth realized what he did was wrong, he would have continued the killings if the witches led him on further. Although Macbeth\'s rise to power and his decline from it are partly the fault of the witches, Macbeth brings it upon himself to commit the murders. Every