Essay Topic: Select one of the themes of Macbeth and discuss the way Shakespeare treats it.
Macbeth is, among other things, a study of the effects and dangers of ambition. Shakespeare offers several different examples of ambition through the major characters Banquo, Lady Macbeth and, most importantly Macbeth himself. Macbeth’s ambitions of becoming King of Scotland leads to the destruction of his wife, his country and himself. Lady Macbeth’s covetous thoughts of wanting her husband to be crowned King, lead her to disillusionment, unhappiness and an inability to sleep. The guilt eats away at her, leaving her to feel isolated by her husband and haunted by the memories. Banquo however, is a victim of his own ambitions. The witches’ prophesies that his children would become Kings in the end, his ambitions lead to secrecy, extreme worry and later on to his death. Duncan is the final example of ambition gone wrong when he forces his ambitions onto Malcolm, his eldest son whom was not yet fit to be King nor had the great qualities to lead his country. Duncan’s ambitions of wanting Malcolm to be the next heir in the throne, in a way, spurred Macbeth into killing him as he also knew that Malcolm was not fit to be King as yet. By the end of the play, Malcolm is found to be the good example of ambition when he finally matures into being the good and better King that Scotland deserves.
At the beginning of the play, the character of Macbeth is found to be a well established leader, however, his ambitions of being crowned King over powers him leading to the conflict of the story. He is considered a brave and courageous man, “…Like Valor’s minion carv’d out his passage…” 1, 2, 19, but after the witches prophesies, his life begins to change, making every word the witches spoke, come true. “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis…Thane of Cawdor…that shalt be King hereafter…” 1, 3, 47-49. Macbeth, at first is reluctant to murder Duncan, but with persuasion from Lady...
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