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Corrupting Power Of Unchecked Ambition And Dark Side Of Humanity In Macbeth

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Macbeth, once an honorable character, loyal to his kings and friends. Always praised by everyone around him because of his positive demeanour. However, as the play continues, Macbeth soon falls victim to the witches’ prediction and suffers from his fatal flaw which is the desire for power and position. Macbeth murders his King who sees Macbeth as a loyal soldier and even bestows the title Thane of Cawdor on him, but because of his striving ambition, he finds himself trapped in a void where he can see no escape.

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Macbeth is a unique character who experienced a sense of change throughout the play. In the play Macbeth there are examples of internal and external conflict. The external conflict in the play when Macbeth decides he no longer wants to murder King Duncan. “'We will proceed no further in this business”. Lady Macbeth becomes irritated with her husband and criticise his manhood by calling him a coward, '...woulds't thou have that which thou esteem'st the ornament of life and live a coward in thine own esteem”. She continues to attack his ego by stating that if he killed King Duncan he would be an example of a true man. '...when you durst do it, then you were a man and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man”. Macbeth trying to prove his manhood of his wife, he eventually murders King Duncan. Another internal conflict within Macbeth occurred after he had banquo murdered. 'Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee! Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; thou hast no speculation in those eyes which thou dost glare with!” He becomes agitated and guilty that he starts to see Banquo’s ghost, “the times have been,that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end, but now they rise again, with twenty mortal murders on their crowns, and push us from our stools: this is more strange than such a murder is.” Though as the play progresses, he realises that his crime is pursuing him, “It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood”. The importance of these conflicts is the decisions that people make to resolve these issues. So how did Macbeth resolve these issues? Macbeth blinded with ambition has impacted his life profoundly. The consequences of his actions are that he led to multiple deaths, his relentless feeling of guilt, and the change of Kingdom leaders. His ambition to stay king has brought out the tyrant within him and shows the evil side of Macbeth, letting his ambition take over. His growth of ambition throughout the play eventually leads to his tragic death.

Shakespeare has explored many things in this play such as the corrupting power of unchecked ambition and the darker side of humanity appearance vs reality. Ambition is an important theme as this disrupts the natural order of things throughout the play. Not only Macbeth but also his wife, Lady Macbeth, is very ambitious too. The banquet scene shows how his ambition has completely taken over and manipulated Macbeth. Macbeth goes too far and decides to have his best friend Banquo killed, 'Tis' better thee without than he within. Is he dispatched?' To Macbeth, Banquo stands in the way of his ambitions and must be eliminated. The theme of ambition is portrayed very negatively in this scene, which has made Macbeth power hungry. Another scene that shows Macbeth’s negative aspirations is when he finds out that Banquo’ son Fleance has escaped the murderers. Macbeth feels threatened saying as the result of Fleance’s escape, he feels like his position is under threat. Appearance vs reality is an important theme as the witches’ predictions lures him and the reality behind them destroys Macbeth. Macbeth is praised by everyone for his bravery and faithfulness to King Duncan. However, he secretly desires to become king through the murder of King Duncan. Macbeth’s paradoxical mind before he murders Duncan causes him to go insane and see a dagger in the air,'Is this a dagger which I see before me...'. It is elusive as Macbeth reaches out for it. He assumes that it is the result of his mind thinking about murder.

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Corrupting Power Of Unchecked Ambition And Dark Side Of Humanity In Macbeth. (2021, September 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from
“Corrupting Power Of Unchecked Ambition And Dark Side Of Humanity In Macbeth.” Edubirdie, 30 Sept. 2021,
Corrupting Power Of Unchecked Ambition And Dark Side Of Humanity In Macbeth. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Dec. 2023].
Corrupting Power Of Unchecked Ambition And Dark Side Of Humanity In Macbeth [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 30 [cited 2023 Dec 3]. Available from:
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