Macbeth and King Henry VIII
Is there such thing as a perfect human, someone who has no flaws what so ever, they have impeccable physical ability, and great intelligence, can make the right decisions every time, they can restrain themselves from the most tempting situations, and have not one ounce of arrogance, selfishness, or greed in them? No, it is not possible. Everybody who is mortal has at least one poor trait in them, at least one flaw. Nobody is perfect, and we learn that very early in our lives. Sometimes people’s negative characteristics can end up getting the best of them, like King Henry VIII of England and Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which both of their uttermost ambition resulted with a downfall.
As the play opens, we see Macbeth as a strong solider who is loyal to his king and fights with no mercy, but he soon gets corrupted by the witches prophecies that sparked his ruthless ambition. The witches told him that he will be named the Thane of Cawdor and then king, and soon after the first prophecy comes true. Macbeth is made Thane of Cawdor because of his valiant efforts in the war, and when he tells his wife about the weird sisters and what had happened her strong will easily influences him to kill Duncan. Macbeth’s wanting to become King was the first demonstration of his ambition, he even says, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition,”(41) and ambition in this time period was not looked upon as a good trait.
Macbeth is very hesitant about killing the king, and if it wasn’t for Lady Macbeth he probably wouldn’t have gone through with it. Lady Macbeth is the person who is able to persuade Macbeth into killing Duncan, assuring her husband that he will succeed with the murder. Lady Macbeth’s ambition is greater than Macbeth’s, and it shows when she receives the letter from him. Right after she reads it, she goes and talks to “the spirits” to make herself evil. She says, “Fill me from the crown to the toe-top full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood.” (33 ) Lady Macbeth goes through with the planning of the murder of the king and holds a lot of power over Macbeth in this part of the play by calling him a “coward” and this all shows how determined she is and how much ambition she has for her husband.
Her faith in him, and her power over him, and her persuasiveness is what make Macbeth act on her plans without hesitating, leaving him with more ambition for himself.
Killing Duncan turns Macbeth into a blood hound. Right after killing the king, he murders the two guards and though he is shaken up at first, he is able to accept what he did and calm down. After Macbeth is named king, Banquo starts wondering if the witches prophecies are coming true, and suspects Macbeth of killing Duncan. Macbeth is also worrying about the prophecies, afraid that Banquos sons will become king and his own dynasty will become short-lived. Macbeth hires several murderers to kill his old friend Banquo and his son Fleance to ensure his own sons the throne, not Banquos. He convinces the murderers that Banquo is an enemy, “ Both of you know Banquo was your enemy.”(89) “So is he mine; and in such bloody distance that ever minute of his being thrusts against nearest of life...”(89) These quotes come up when Macbeth is convincing the murderers to kill Banquo and his son, and he is manipulating them into thinking that Banquo is of great danger to everyone. He decides to kill Banquo over his greed and ambition. He wanted the throne for his sons, and his sons only, he didn’t want Banquo to ruin that for him, so he killed a friend for his desires. Now, the more murders he commits the less encouragement he needs from Lady Macbeth.In fact he does not tell her of murders anymore, he kills with or without her consent.
Halfway throughout the play, Macbeth finds the weird sisters and demands to hear more prophecies. The witches tell him his...
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Macdonald, Alan. Henry VIII And His Chopping Block. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1999
Morrison, N. Brysson. The Private Life Of Henry VIII. New York:Vanguard Press, 1966
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992
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