The Self Destruction of Macbeth in Macbeth, and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice

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It is evident in both plays by William Shakespeare that ambition and pride seem to be the

“main” roles in the self destruction of Macbeth and Shylock. In Shakespeare’s tragedies, he

conveys his most renowned sense of dignity and power found in man. “It typically presents the

fall of a man who may be basically or originally good but is always corruptible through the

temptations of the world and his own pride or ambition”(Felperin 158). Through the entire play

we begin to see the transformation unravel. Their desire to be on top of the world begins to

destroy them from the inside out. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is the catalyst that drives Macbeth

to a character that drives for success and will do anything to acquire the “earthly” possessions he

desires. On the other hand, Shylock is a character that is driven by revenge to gain what he thinks

he deserves. Both characters begin to drastically wither away as they dig deeper into gaining

what they think they are owed. While the self destruction of Macbeth from William

Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Shylock from The Merchant of Venice are similar in their ambition

for power and drive for success, they differ greatly in the outcomes of their actions, while they

both have tragic flaws interweaved in with ambition and pride (Sukanta 173).

Macbeth is liked by all in that the beginning, but the transformation begins with one plan

brought about by his wife. “ Macbeth is impelled to go against his personal instincts and engage

himself with things that are impossible for him to pin down: the future, the supernatural, the

forces that control human destiny”(O’Toole 157). Macbeth begins to go against his instinct and

morals to d...

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Even though Macbeth and Shylock differ in their self destruction and tragic flaw they are

both similar. Both are related in the way they go about self destructing. They come up with a

plan to try to harm others to gain what they want. During the plan something goes wrong and

both will suffer the consequences if not death, the loss of religion and possessions. Macbeth

releases forces of disorder and evil, while he is driven to failure, suffering and death. Shylock on

the other hand, is more concerned with his diamonds and ducats than his own daughter, and he

can’t picture making a sacrifice to his personal relations ( Chaudhuri 174; Auden 145). Both

Macbeth and Shylock are good examples of what being greedy and sinful to achieve what you

want in life don’t always wind up with the best consequences.
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