Macbeth Themes

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“What are the major themes in Macbeth”

By Connor Maguire

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth a play complete with many themes and viewpoints. The themes are exhibited by the main characters of the play, notably antagonist Macbeth. Themes seen in the play include ambition, where is is portrayed as both dangerous and unnatural. However, it does exist in both good and evil forms in the play. Another theme seen is whether Macbeths actions in the play are a result of fate, or free will. Although outside sources, such as the witches and Lady Macbeth, have an influence on Macbeth, he still intentionally deliberates before taking action, leaving the question unanswered at the end of the play. Finally, the supernatural is a theme that is essential in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Although the witches deliver a prophecy that sets the play up, they do not appear to have any supernatural powers of which they use to control ones actions.

Firstly, the idea of ambition, particularly in relation to main character Macbeth, is one of the most crucial themes that forms the plays major conflict. It appears Shakespeare’s main message after reading the play is the damage a dangerous ambition can cause, and Macbeth is the main offender of this. Once a noble man, strong in battle and true of heart, he is unlucky enough to encounter the supernatural witches, who deliver the prophecy which they had said in the first scene of the play. After he becomes power hungry, Macbeth commits the most heinous acts, with the help of his also ambitious wife, just to fulfill his ambition of becoming king of Scotland. Hence what Shakespeare is attempting to say is once Macbeth had a taste of power, he appears unable to restrain his once cautious mind to stop killing men and women, just to secure his place on the throne. Hours before Duncans murder, Macbeth deliberates the choice of killing Duncan; “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself and falls...
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