Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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In human society there are different rank and class systems that distinguish groups of people. Ambition -- the quest for power – is an internal drive that is embedded in every one of us. It motivates us to improve ourselves. Ambition can lead to corruption as in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, where the main character Macbeth is driven by his ambition and eventually becomes corrupt. Macbeth chooses to let ambition override his humanity in order to achieve and maintain the throne which ultimately leads to his and Scotland’s down fall.
Initially, Macbeth is a loyal, courageous subject of the King of Scotland, but he is also a man who harbors a hidden ambition for power. At a military camp near the king’s palace at Forres, a wounded captain describes for King Duncan of Scotland how "brave Macbeth” plunged fearlessly into the Scottish Civil War while “Disdaining Fortune" (1.2.16-17) slayed the traitorous Macdonwald, rebel leader of the Irish invaders. The captain’s report of Macbeth’s bravery and loyalty in battle is immediately contradicted by Macbeth’s obvious fixation upon the witches’ prophecy revealing his great ambition. After hearing the witches’ prophecy of him becoming king “Macbeth comes to regard the witches' promise of the crown in the light of a contract with fate” (Cohen) , Banquo observed him to "start" like one that "seem[s] to "fear/Things that do sound so fair" (1.3.49-50). This is the “reaction of a guilty man who has heard his secret thoughts divined and spoken out.” (Cohen) “Thus the Weird Sisters are not true arbiters of fate, but merely devilish spirits whose function is to plant seeds of temptation into the souls of people already inclining toward sin and despair.” (Cohen). Macbeth becomes Thane of Caw...

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...his wife's advice in murdering Duncan. Macbeth knew the risks he was taking and ended up being the cause of his own demise.

Works Cited

Cohen, Joshua. "'That great bond which keeps me pale': Macbeth's contract with fate." Shakespeare Newsletter Fall 2010: 61+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.

Jaffa, Harry V. "Macbeth and the moral universe." Claremont Review of Books Winter 2007: 27+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.

McGrail, Mary Ann. "Macbeth: What Does the Tyrant?" In Tyranny in Shakespeare. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2001. 19-46. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 100. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Literature: British Literature. Ed. Janet
Allen et al. Evanston: Holt McDougal-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 348-431. Print.
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