Shakespeare's Macbeth Ambition Inevitably Leads To Selfishness And Greed

959 words - 4 pages

Throughout William Shakespeare's enticing play, Macbeth, he explores several extremely interesting themes which perfectly correspond to our everyday lives. One of the most applicable of these many themes is the notion that wealth and power, both of which are created by ambition, are not the most important things to life. Furthermore, William Shakespeare even seems to express that aspirations, when taken to their extremities, can lead one to commit horrible acts in order to fulfill their ambitious goals.

In the beginning of act one, Shakespeare portrayed Macbeth as a brave and honorable general who received high praises and admiration from everyone around him. This praise even included the king of Scotland, King Duncan, who honored Macbeth for his triumphant defeat of the Norwegian rebel, MacDonwald. In scene three of act one, the three weird witches approached Macbeth and prophesied that he was going to become the Thane of Cawdor, and in time, the king of Scotland. At first, the aghast Macbeth scoffed their remarks and didn't believe their outlandish prophecies. However, soon he would be proved wrong when Ross and Angus arrived to tell him that the king had just named him Thane of Cawdor. This message proves to be one of the most integral events of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and can even be considered the turning point of the novel, despite being so early on in the text. From this point onward, Macbeth will be filled with ambitious thoughts, initially starting with innocent aspirations, yet later, becoming horrible murderous acts.

Throughout act one and two, Macbeth's ambition, greed, and spite gradually increases from a point of heroism to a climax of pure disgust. Immediately upon receiving the word of his newly appointed title of the Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth instantly turned towards malevolent thoughts of murdering the king. "If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make me seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature? Present fears are less than horrible imaginings (I.III.147)." However, Macbeth's ambitions steadily grow with the assistance of his greedy wife, Lady Macbeth. Because of her greed and want for her husband to be king, she prompted him to commit the horrendous act of murder. If Macbeth's prophecy were for him to become Thane of Cawdor and then thane of some other state, would he have committed this murder? Because these two thane titles are of exactly the same social status,...

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