Insights Offered by Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Macbeth, written by English playwright William Shakespeare, is a fictional play set during a deep Christian era, which focuses heavily on the life of Macbeth, a Scottish nobleman. Consistently throughout the play, a number of critical issues and themes are explored and reiterated with the clever use of language techniques and setting. On analysis of the patterns these themes and issues present, the responder is able to recognise a number of insights into the complex structure of human life and emotion. Furthermore, through investigation of Shakespeare's time and audience, we can further understand the context of these insights and how they relate to present day.

Ambition is essentially a positive human emotion, however it maintains the ability to manipulate personal decision and influence cause of action. Throughout the play, the power and control of ambition is notably the most crucial element in the development of the plot, and provides a fundamental insight into the manner human emotions operate. To begin Macbeth is initially portrayed as a noble and decent character before meeting the three witches. He is considered loyal to his king and is highly respected amongst his soldiers, "For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—". Shakespeare characterises this dignified Macbeth through the use of powerful emotive language such as "worthy gentle men" and "valiant cousin". However, upon meeting the witches and hearing the utterance of their prophecy "All hail king thereafter", ambition begins to consume him, initiating his mental downfall. Shakespeare emphasises the effect of ambition over Macbeth when he contrasts the once heroic character as "deceitful, false, avaricious and malicious".  Not only to we see the controlling effect of ambition on Macbeth, but rather it is his wife who begins wild dreams of limitless control as ambition reveals a darker side of human nature. Lady Macbeth, constricted by this dark desire for power, aggressively persuades...
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