Essay about The Roles of Greed and Pride in Shakespeare's Macbeth

Essay about The Roles of Greed and Pride in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The choices people make lead them to where they end up, which may be interpreted as the opposite of fate. However, when some people believe something is meant to be, they are determined not to stray from where they think they should end up, even if it means throwing away their principles and values in the process. Through Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth’s original character and values are destroyed because of the influence from the witches' prophecies, Lady Macbeth's greed, and his own hidden ambition.
Macbeth begins to defer from his original character when he learns of the witches’ prophecies, which leads him to believe he is fated to be king and to pursue that “destiny.” After the witches make the prophecies, he merely views the thought of himself becoming king as something that “Stands not within the prospect of belief” (I. iii. 77). Macbeth’s disbelief of their claim of him obtaining the crown reveals how Macbeth does not trust the witches’ words and has no true ambition to become king. However soon after Banquo’s and Macbeth’s encounter with the witches, a messenger of the King greets him with the title of Thane of Cawdor as well as the title of Thane of Glamis as the witches had also done. These two titles are seen from Macbeth as “Two truths [that] are told/ As happy prologues to the swelling act/ Of the imperial theme” (I. iii. 140-142). Having one of the two prophecies become reality validates the witches’ words and makes Macbeth take their words seriously to be the truth, sparking his desire for power to fulfill the last prophecy. He now believes that what the witches have made it his destiny to become king, and it is his duty to fulfill it. Through Duncan and Macbeth’s dialogue, Macbeth hears about Malcolm b...


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...d, he is apathetic to her death. All he holds value of is keeping his crown, and his greed for power leads to his cockiness in his last battle with Macduff. Because he does not believe one of women-born can stop him, he overlooks Macduff, and when Macduff’s history is revealed, Macbeth loses all confidence and loses the battle, and his life.
Because of the witches’ prophecies, Lady Macbeth’s ambition and Macbeth’s greed, Macbeth diverges from his values and principles, corrupting him and ultimately leading to his downfall. Because of their greed and pride, the characters in the Tragedy of Macbeth end up not only losing everything that was important to them, but also the path on life they had tried so hard to stay on. Greed and pride shatters the fate that one would have had, whether fate is defined as where one would want to end up, or as where one will end up at.

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