The undoing or downfall of the main character in a tragedy is usually brought about through a tragic flaw. In Shakespeare's tragedy, Macbeth, the two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, both posses a tragic flaw which eventually leads to their demise. The tragic flaws of both characters can be seen by analyzing their actions throughout the play. .
Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. At the end of Act II, he kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Although he did not want to kill Duncan he allowed himself to be talked in to it by his wife, Lady Macbeth, because he wanted what he knew Duncan's death would bring, power. Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness. One example of this is when he sends murderers to kill Macduff's wife and children. By doing this he gains no power or advancement, but he does manage to hurt his enemy Macduff. Macbeth has now become obsessed with power and will do anything to get more, or retain his current amount. He never really wanted to kill anyone, but had to in order to get the power he so desired. .
Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of withstanding the repercussions of her immoral acts. She spurs her husband mercilessly to kill Duncan and urges him to be strong in the murder's aftermath. However, she is eventually driven to destruction by the effect of Macbeth's repeated bloodshed on her conscience. After the murder of Duncan she begins a slow slide into madness. By the close of the play, she has been reduced to sleepwalking through the castle, desperately trying to wash away an invisible bloodstain. Once the sense of guilt comes home to roost, Lady Macbeth's sensitivity becomes a weakness, and she is unable to cope.