Where is there a page in William Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth which does not present the selfish virtue of personal ambition. This paper addresses the problem of ambition in the drama.
In "Memoranda: Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth," Sarah Siddons mentions the ambition of Lady Macbeth and its effect:
[Re "I have given suck" (1.7.54ff.)] Even here, horrific as she is, she shews herself made by ambition, but not by nature, a perfectly savage creature. The very use of such a tender allusion in the midst of her dreadful language, persuades one unequivocally that she has really felt the maternal yearnings of a mother towards her babe, and that she considered this action the most enormous that ever required the strength of human nerves for its perpetration. Her language to Macbeth is the most potently eloquent that guilt could use. (56)
Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare interpret the main theme of the play as intertwining with evil and ambition:
While in Hamlet and others of Shakespeare's plays we feel that Shakespeare refined upon and brooded over his thoughts, Macbeth seems as if struck out at a heat and imagined from first to last with rapidity and power, and a subtlety of workmanship which has become instructive. The theme of the drama is the gradual ruin through yielding to evil within and evil without, of a man, who, though from the first tainted by base and ambitious thoughts, yet possessed elements in his nature of possible honor and loyalty. (792)
In "Macbeth as the Imitation of an Action" Francis Fergusson states the place of Macbeth's ambition in the action of the play: ...
... middle of paper ...
...iion of Critical Essays. Alfred Harbage, ed. Englewwod Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964.
Johnson, Samuel. The Plays of Shakespeare. N.p.: n.p.. 1765. Rpt in Shakespearean Tragedy. Bratchell, D. F. New York, NY: Routledge, 1990.
Kemble, Fanny. "Lady Macbeth." Macmillan's Magazine, 17 (February 1868), p. 354-61. Rpt. in Women Reading Shakespeare 1660-1900. Ann Thompson and Sasha Roberts, eds. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. http://chemicool.com/Shakespeare/macbeth/full.html, no lin.
Siddons, Sarah. "Memoranda: Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth." The Life of Mrs. Siddons. Thomas Campbell. London: Effingham Wilson, 1834. Rpt. in Women Reading Shakespeare 1660-1900. Ann Thompson and Sasha Roberts, eds. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Power of Corruption and Unbridled Ambition in Macbeth Very few producers of art can actually let their works claim the appellation 'classic.' For to create a piece of work - literature, art, or poetry, that stands the test of time, that proves the author's premise relevant not just in the period when he created it, but also in the generations that follow, is not an easy task. The works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) have, more than once, proved worthy of the title 'classic.' Not only does his work hold up, as he wished, a mirror to his own society, but manages to reflect what is going on much later, and indeed, may be relevant well into the next millennium, if civilization... [tags: Macbeth Essays]
2120 words (6.1 pages)
- A Shakespearean tragedy, is a play with an apparent heroic figure whose major character flaw(s) cause the story to end with a tragic downfall. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is one such tragedy. Macbeth is filled with an abundance of examples of what gives Macbeth a tragic essence. It is clear to see why this Shakespearean play, with the constant death and subterfuge throughout the play, is considered the most intense and complex tragedy, and being that special kind of tragedy Macbeth is. It has left a template for modern epics such as, the fall of Anakin Skywalker from George Lucas’s, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and like Macbeth, Star Wars is just as complex.... [tags: Macbeth, Tragedy, Sith, Darth Vader]
747 words (2.1 pages)
- Madness is an intensely compelling component of many dramatic texts and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is certainly no exception. However, the portrayal of madness in Macbeth, specifically the madness of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and the three Witches, is uniquely compelling when examined in regard to the play’s implications as a moralistic text. Through the use of repetition, syntax, and imagery, Shakespeare creates and juxtaposes two abstract worlds in the play in which his characters must function: the world of the sane and the world of the mad.... [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Three Witches, Moral]
1038 words (3 pages)
- After reading a brief summary and seeing clips on YouTube, I got afraid when I saw the witches at a thunderous night. They told Macbeth and his friend Banquo the three prophesies which lead Macbeth and his wife become more greedy and ambitious which lead them to commit bad deeds. I got angry when Lady Macbeth set a plan to kill King Duncan. She lead Macbeth went to King Duncan’s room and killed him without any humanity and mercy. Her goal from this murder was to be a queen and her husband a king of Scotland and become wealthier than before.... [tags: madwomen in the attic, middle ages, england]
1689 words (4.8 pages)
- Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Milton’s Satan of Paradise Lost bear many similarities to each other. Both characters possess diabolical ambitions to overthrow the natural order of their circumstances for the lust for power. Both committed atrocious acts that led to others’ downfalls-Macbeth committed multiple acts of murder, and Satan vowed to corrupt humankind and did so with deceit. Both are portrayed as complex characters with, in some cases, conflicted feelings about their evil doings. Aside from these similarities, there are significant differences as well.... [tags: Comparing Macbeth and Satan ]
1831 words (5.2 pages)
- William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Macbeth, is a tragedy brilliantly brought to the 21st Century by Rupert Goold. Although Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play set in 16th Century Scotland, Rupert Goold modernizes the play by changing the setting to a Soviet-styled country and implementing modern elements into the characters and theme. Although Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Rupert Goold’s film adaptation share many ideologies and a general storyline, a difference exists in the setting, the characters, and the overall ambience of the story.... [tags: Shakespearean Literature ]
969 words (2.8 pages)
- The Degradation of the Character of Macbeth Shakespeare's tragic play, Macbeth explores the decline of the central character, Macbeth from a respectable warrior to a murdering and lying fiend. This change in character is a direct result of Macbeth’s unbridled ambition and greed. In act 1 scene 2 Macbeth is described as "brave", "valiant" and "heroic" and everyone admires him. King Duncan and his court receive news from the wounded Captain that the battle against the traitor and the rebel MacDonwald and his army was evenly balanced until Macbeth and Banquo in acts of outstanding courage and ferocity destroyed him and his troops, like "sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion".... [tags: GCSE Coursework Macbeth Essays]
1791 words (5.1 pages)
- Dictatorship, in its diverse forms, has remained a norm in human systems of government since time immemorial. Whether manifested as the absolute monarchs of yore or the recent communist and fascist dictators of the 20th century, conventionally, dictators became oppressive and incapable of governing due to the corrupting influence of power, and most met their ends at the hands of the angry masses, such as the famous execution of King Louis XVI of France. The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare and the biography of recently deceased Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi both show the damaging nature of unbridled ambition and power.... [tags: Social Studies]
1768 words (5.1 pages)
- Consequences of Ambition Exposed in Macbeth, The Maid's Tragedy, and The Duchess of Malfi Twenty-first century America praises the ambitious. The American dream urges us to set lofty goals and then rely on the Protestant work ethic to achieve them-regardless of potential obstacles. Parents encourage their children to consider any and every career choice. Companies and schools stress goal-setting and celebrate productivity. Even a contemporary catchphrase like "The sky's the limit" or the Army slogan "Be all you can be"-the stuff of graduation cards and commencement addresses-promote ambition.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
3061 words (8.7 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Macbeth Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy. It tells the story of a brave Scottish general, Macbeth, who receives a prophecy from three witches that one day he will become king of Scotland. Consumed with ambitious thoughts and spurred to action by his wife, he murders King Duncan while he is asleep and seizes the throne for himself. A number of themes are conveyed in the play but perhaps the predominant theme is related to ambition and how raw ambition, if left unchecked, can have disastrous effects, which is most definitely relevant to modern audiences.... [tags: Papers]
741 words (2.1 pages)