Shakespeare's Macbeth - Downfall Due to Ambition and Human Weakness

Shakespeare's Macbeth - Downfall Due to Ambition and Human Weakness

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Macbeth: Downfall Due to Ambition and Human Weakness



        William Shakespeare through one of his most well known plays

portrays a tragic downfall of a king through his ambition and human

weakness.  Shakespeare develops the play Macbeth by showing the changes in

the protagonist and the effects others have on him.


        Shakspeare's use of detail helps to show the changes in Macbeth

through a gradual process.  Before actually completing his horrendous act

of killing the much loved King Duncan, Macbeth suffers mental conflict

"having no spurs to prick the side of my intent" between the "vaulting

ambition which leaps over itself and falls on the other" and the "deep

damnation of his (Duncan's) taking off."  At this point in time, scene 7 of

the first act, Macbeth exposes sensitivity and knowledge of what he may do

is wrong.  Possibly the one time when the reader can relate to Macbeth the

best, it is seen that he is very hesitant of his action, but what over

takes him is the human flaw of ambition.  As time progresses and

Shakespeare shows Macbeth's initial "fear" of Banquo;  but as his mind

becomes engulfed in the his best friends murder he label's him as "your

enemy" and making sure that he is left "no rubs nor botches in the work"

Macbeth is obviously afraid of experiencing the same emotional trauma of

his first murder.  Although he think he is solving his problems, his

damnation is ever progressing by making being indirectly involved in the

murder of his one time best friend and father of a line of kings.  The

reader sees how ones desire for self - power can destroy himself completely.


        Shakespeare's diction through other characters in the play also

help to portray Macbeth's break down.  In the beginning, when Macbeth still

depicts his sensitivity and morality, Lady's Macbeth almost forces Macbeth

to do the deed calling him a "coward in thine own esteem", mocking him

saying, "you durst do it then you were a man," and comparing him to "a baby

that milks me."  Lady Macbeth serves as on of Macbeth's contrasting

characters.  It is with her biting tougne that Macbeth is inspired to

achieve his ambition in becoming king.  In the beginning of the play with

the three weird sisters the first idea introduced is their meeting with

Macbeth "when the battles lost and won."; upon this meeting, macbeth pleads,

"tell me more you imperfect sisters;" later on one of the witches chimes,

"by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."  Through

the witches' characters, the peculiar chants, the reader knows the power

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that other characters have upon Macbeth.  As the play progresses, it is

evident that Macbeth is tempted by the witches and has become evil by the

catalyst of their powers.  The reader recognizes the mental weakness

Macbeth really has even though he has power in ambition.


        The varying points of view of a play give the author more power for

audience to become involved with the actions on stage.  For example,

Macbeth in one of his soliloquies says whole heartedly, "I am his kinsman

and his subject," about the thoughts of killing Duncan only to be later

plauged by vision of "thy blade and dudgeons gouts of blood."  This first

person point of view allows the audience to know Macbeth's thoughts that no

other character in the play can.  It is first seen that Macbeth truly is

sensitive about killing the king, and then he shows the mental calamity

that is kept hidden after going through with the deed.  Banquo, another

victim of Macbeth's ambition connects the "unnatural events" to what the

"weird sisters promised."  This character serves as an example of third

person limited point of view, not knowing everyone's thoughts but to show

that at least someone is aware of Macbeth's actions.  The audience

understands the dramatic irony Shakespeare provides creating more suspense

to the plot.  The combination of the first person and third person point of

view allow the audience the become involved in the play, predicting and

understanding what will occur later on.



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