Destructive Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

Destructive Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

Length: 1664 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Destructive Ambition in Macbeth

 
    William Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth presents the fizzled drive of an ambitious husband and wife. This essay is the story of their destructive ambition.

 

Fanny Kemble in "Lady Macbeth" refers to the ambition of Lady Macbeth:

 

 [. . .] to have seen Banquo's ghost at the banqueting table ... and persisted in her fierce mocking of her husband's terror would have been impossible to human nature. The hypothesis makes Lady Macbeth a monster, and there is no such thing in all Shakespeare's plays. That she is godless, and ruthless in the pursuit of the objects of her ambition, does not make her such. (118)

 

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, a...


... middle of paper ...


...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 »

Macbeth Ambition Essay

- When a character’s ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints, unfortunate consequences such as the suffering of others are inevitable, rendering him a tragic hero. One’s ambition is ever-changing and therefore extremely volatile; it can be dramatically influenced by both internal and external sources. Although ambition is usually considered to be an admirable trait, it is able to catalyze both positive or negative acts. In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, the protagonist, Macbeth, is portrayed as a tragic hero who, due to unhealthy sense of ambition, acts as an instrument of the suffering of the other characters by leading them to horrible deaths and eventually experiencing a si...   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Tragedy, Tragic hero]

Powerful Essays
936 words (2.7 pages)

Macbeth Corruptive Ambition Essay

- Macbeth is a play about the corruptive force of ambition. Discuss this statement with particular reference to the characters in the play. Macbeth written by Shakespeare, is a tragic and historical thriller play filled with action-packed murders and the fall of man. The characters are portrayed to have personal ambitions. Shakespeare displayed these ambitions to both be destructive and constructive. Which unchecked ambition has detrimental impacts as shown in the main characters and checked, cautious ambition can help influence and encourage others....   [tags: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Macbeth, Macbeth]

Powerful Essays
1315 words (3.8 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Madeleine L’Engle once said, “Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person”. By not allowing someone to make their own decisions, right or wrong, you are taking away their freedom to understand the evolution of their thoughts and desires. Manipulation, as Madeleine L’Engle stated so eloquently, is a way to treat others as puppets and not as a person with the right to make their own choices in life....   [tags: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Macbeth, Macbeth]

Powerful Essays
1547 words (4.4 pages)

Essay about Macbeth, By William Shakespeare

- A controversial question debated by many is, “Can human beings really have the freedom to do as we wish. Or do people influence our so called ‘free will’, to the extant where we don’t have a choice. ” This question is raised in Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare in 1606, a play that deals with key themes such as good versus evil and power. I will be talking about how the witches aren’t the most powerful characters in the play, and aren’t the catalyst to all of Macbeth’s crimes by using the witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth himself....   [tags: Macbeth, Three Witches, Macbeth of Scotland]

Powerful Essays
1620 words (4.6 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Greed is a powerful obstacle that impedes a man from obtaining his true desires. Ambition must be controlled in order to prevent self-destruction. The motive, “by all means necessary”, consist of self-destructive ambition. Once preying on others becomes effortless or pointless you can only prey upon yourself. Overeagerness and equivocation is the affliction possessed in Macbeth’s self-destructed conscience. Eventually, the destruction can lead to confusion and suicide. In Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, Macbeth is told a prophecy by three witches revealing that he would be King of Scotland....   [tags: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Macbeth]

Powerful Essays
1019 words (2.9 pages)

Vaulting Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Vaulting Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth Ambition is a strong desire or drive to succeed or achieve something. It can help a person to strive at getting something they want. If someone wants something badly enough, their ambition will help them not give up until they achieve at getting what they want. But also, if a person has too much ambition, it could make that person do destructive things to get what they want and they will hurt anyone or anything that gets in their way. Ambition can be a positive thing or a negative thing....   [tags: Free Essays]

Free Essays
433 words (1.2 pages)

Witches in Macbeth by William Shakespeare Essay

- ... iii. 48). This indicates that Macbeth is a great warrior and is an important figure of Scottish nobility. As predicted by the witches “All hail, Macbeth. hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!...shalt be king hereafter!” he will soon take reign as the Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland (I. iii. 49-50). If the witches had never told him that, Macbeth would still be ordinary self. As a result of the prophecies, Macbeth’s honorable nature seemed to fade. The enormous amount of influence of Macbeth’s wife, Lady Macbeth, also contributed to Macbeth’s degeneration character....   [tags: degeneration, blind ambition]

Powerful Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

Macbeth's Weak Mindset, Lust for Power, and Quest for Blood in Shakespeare's Macbeth

- In the story of Macbeth the character Macbeth is portrayed as an honest and trustworthy man. In the beginning of the story Macbeth meets three witches that tell him that he will be the Thane of Cowdar and eventually become King. Essentially Macbeth does not believe this and ignores it. Macbeth tells his wife about the series of events with the witches and his wife begins Macbeth’s quest for all power. In the story Lady Macbeth is the force that provokes Macbeth to commit all of these evil deeds....   [tags: Macbeth Essays]

Powerful Essays
1551 words (4.4 pages)

Essay about Corruption of Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth

- The Corrupting Power of Unchecked Ambition The main theme of Macbeth-the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints-finds its most powerful expression in the play's two main characters. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1294 words (3.7 pages)

The Downfall of Macbeth Essay

-         Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is the tragic tale of  Macbeth, a virtuous man, corrupted by power and greed. This tragedy can be classified by one of two theories. One theory suggests that the tragic hero, Macbeth, is led down an unescapable road of doom by an outside force; namely the three witches. The second suggests that there is no supernatural force working against Macbeth, which therefore makes him responsible for his own actions and inevitable downfall. Macbeth is indeed responsible for his own actions which are provoked by Lady Macbeth, the witches,  his ambition, and an unwillingness to listen to his own conscience....   [tags: Macbeth essays William Shakespeare Papers]

Powerful Essays
1008 words (2.9 pages)