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Macbeth And His Ambition Essay

1023 words - 4 pages

As one of the shortest plays William Shakespeare has written, Macbeth represents Shakespeare most popular play. Throughout the play, many characters are revealed, however the main character remains Macbeth, a laudable man who develops into a man engrossed by his ambition of power. Another important character is Banquo who develops as a dramatic foil to Macbeth and represents a brave and ambitious individual while he retains his morals unlike Macbeth. Macbeth eventually becomes recklessly ambitious through the pursuit of power. Through the development of the reckless and murderous nature of Macbeth, Shakespeare reveals the impact ambition and its effect while pursuing power. Shakespeare develops this theme through metaphor, dramatic foil, and diction.
Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare employs metaphors to disclose the impact of ambition. In the middle of a contemplation, Macbeth finds his true motivation when saying “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent but only vaulting ambition” (1.7.25). Shakespeare utilizes “spurs” to reference the spurs used by a horse rider to urge a horse to gallop faster. Macbeth however lacks the need for “spurs” to rise to power due to the sheer power of his ambition. In addition, Shakespeare wields this to demonstrate Macbeth’s justification to his reckless actions and thoughts while trying to gain power. Furthermore, in the beginning of Macbeth’s pursuit of power, Macbeth notices “upon my head they placed a fruitless crown” (3.1.60). Shakespeare utilizes “fruitless crown” to metaphorically represent Macbeth’s impotence. Macbeth’s impotence worries leads to him fearing to lose the kingship. Also, Shakespeare uses metaphor in this circumstance because it is a relatable way to signify that Macbeth’s impotence fuels his ambition. Many critics have analyzed Macbeth's ambition and how it pushes him to damaging himself. Mary Ann Mcgrail describes “by releasing his ambition, Macbeth is successful in destroying his own conscience” (McGrail). Through this analysis, it becomes apparent that Macbeth’s ambitions are becoming a maker and breaker of him due to the reckless way in which Macbeth is power hungry. Over all, Shakespeare presents the dangers and power of ambition in the wrong hands. Over the course of the play, Shakespeare uses many ways to portray the Macbeth’s reckless ambition.
In Macbeth, Banquo represents the main foil of Macbeth. While conversing with Macbeth, Banquo discusses that he “dreamt last night of the three weird sisters” (2.1.20). Shakespeare’s use of dramatic foil with Banquo, allows the audience to see that Macbeth is not admitting his thoughts about the prophecies. While Banquo admits to his temptations, Macbeth lies to Banquo to ensure the ambitious plan that he will become king will come true and his need for power possesses him to following the prophecies. Furthermore, due to Banquo’s contrasting morals, Banquo realizes “in the great hand of God I stand and thence against the undivulged...

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