The Significance of Moral Ambiguity in Shakespeare's, Tragedy of MacBeth

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The Significance of Moral Ambiguity in William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth is a fictional play written by English poet William Shakespeare. The play is set in eleventh century Scotland, during the reign of King James the first. Shakespeare evidently writes in this time period to describe the link between leaders and their supreme or ultimate power. The play was first performed in the year 1606, at the world famous Globe Theatre, and is considered one of the most profound and compelling tragedies ever told. The Tragedy of Macbeth tells the tale of a brave Scottish general named Macbeth and his ambitious desire to become king of Scotland. While he and another commander named Banquo return home from war they stumble into three hagged looking witches. The witches offer the men an enticing prophecy that leads to a more pivotal role found later in the play. Throughout the play Macbeth is seen confronting his own moral ambiguity to the heinous acts he must perform to get the position he most desires. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, [s]hakes so my single state of man” (Shakespeare 1.3.152-53). This uncertainty, present in the scenes of Duncan’s murder, the feast, and the witch’s final predictions each unfold the ambiguity needed to understand the basis of the work as a whole.
After the first prediction comes true the reader starts to see a difference in Macbeth’s entire attitude. Throughout the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as a valiant and great nobleman, however, when Macbeth receives news that there is a chance for him to rise to great power he conspires to murder the current king to gain the throne. Although the thought of killing Duncan at first is subtle, it grows into a more bl...

... middle of paper ... by his wife, Macbeth is plagued with guilt when he sees Banquo’s apparition, and him being panic-stricken by the prophecy all exhibit the fallacy of Macbeth’s character. Were it not for the external factors that surround Macbeth within the play, then maybe there was a chance that he would have never committed the acts. “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more” (5.5.26-29). Macbeth reflects on his exceedingly ambitious life and how it really had no meaning to the world. Because Macbeth never got to enjoy any of his accomplishments in life, Shakespeare proposes that it is far better to achieve your goals fairly rather than foully. Also, if Macbeth followed his ethical instinct the result would have never transgressed into his death, or perhaps it was just meant to be.
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