Last Updated 03 Jan 2023

The Theme of Unhealthy Ambition in Macbeth, a Play by William Shakespeare

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It has been said that power corrupts absolutely, and absolute power is kind of neat. Irony regularly appears, ironically, in the strangest of places. The mere fact that one of the most corrupting forces on this planet is also one of the most intriguing displays that irony is joke meant for God. The tobacco lobbyist that dies of lung cancer, The gay activist that catches AIDS, and, my favorite of all, the pro- choice advocates that are never born, are all ironic twists of fate. In Shakespeare's tragedy: Macbeth Irony is evident in the power that is sought after by Macbeth. The one thing he craves is what brings him to his doom. Power is the delicious fruit that burns a hole in the guts of its consumer.

In the tragedy Macbeth the main character, Macbeth seeks to attain the throne through all means necessary. Ambition is the addictive force that drives Macbeth to lunacy (Beckham 61). Macbeth is told by the witches of a prophecy that he shall be king (I.iii.36-70). Macbeth sees these prophecies as instructions to pursue his fantasy of becoming king through any means necessary. This green light to lie, cheat, and steal is like throwing a ham-bone before a dog. Macbeth is also directed to kill the king by his wife (1.v.65-75). Macbeth feels the power of victory and the ability to control his destiny in his own hands. He begins to feel that killing the king is the right thing to do because Kingship is the desire of both Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth. Macbeth still has his own fortune in his hands but the lure of power looms ever greater within his mind.

Once Macbeth kills Duncan, he begins to ignore the moral issue of murder; it is only a way to eliminate enemies to his Kingship. Macbeth has Banquo murdered (III.İ.80-139). Banquo is one of Macbeth's closest friends. The witches claim that Banquo will father a king. This shows that Macbeth will go to any lengths to preserve his power. Macbeth also orders that an entire family be executed because their patriarch flees to England (IV.ii.80-86). The murder of the Macduff clan cannot help Macbeth one iota. This senseless act just soils his reputation even more. Lady Macbeth is pushing Macbeth no longer, as she must deal with her own guilt (Klugger 97).

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Macbeth is now feeling less and less guilt as he finally goes to seek the Witches to ease his mind. Macbeth interprets the second prediction of the Witches as holy writ. He is told that no man born of woman can harm him (Iv.i.80). Fear and strength offer a dangerous environment for allies (Beckham 101).Macbeth now feels as sword-proof as an Iron giant. Macbeth believes that no man is alive not born of a woman. He feels like he finally has gained total control of his Scotland. Macbeth is now so calloused that the death of his wife does not even faze him (V.v.16-17). Macbeth is no longer a human being but a machine that has no feelings other than greed. He cannot even feel remorse when his life mate is taken from him. Macbeth's destruction is made complete by his own actions.

Power was given to Macbeth and power makes him hungrier for more. His moral foundation crumbles with every opportunity to advance himself. He is not the first person to allow power to corrupt him. Nor will he be the last. Macbeth will forever be remembered as a weak-minded king who had no righteous bones in his body. He was not always such, but his ambition drove him there. Power ravaged Macbeth like heroine does to an addict, leaving only a corpse.

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