Texts can provide insight into the human condition, highlighting the effect of unchecked ambition on an individual’s conscience within the boundaries of their context. Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’ outlines how disrupting the natural order of things; Macbeth cheating his way into power, has its consequences. Throughout the film A Simple Plan by Sam Raimi, we can clearly see how Raimi has reflected ideas and themes from Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’. Macbeth’s contextual importance in shown in The Jacobian Era, also relating to The Divine Right of Kings. Sam Raimi’s context in the film, ‘A simple Plan’, refers to 1990’s post war America, neo-noir styled film (reflects darkness of society and includes characters that make moral or questionable decisions as a result of the disillusionment of the war.)
The power of ambition is represented through Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, we are shown the effects that come from having a lust for power “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I still see thee.” In this soliloquy, “is this a dagger which I see before me,” the reader is able to fully understand Macbeth’s thoughts and where those thoughts will lead him. He demonstrates his ambitious hunger for power and his fatal flaw, which is the ability to be manipulated by his desires. “I gave supped full with horrors. Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts cannot once start me.” The descriptions of his ‘slaughterous thoughts’ connects with Macbeth’s previous recognition of his ‘black and deep desires’, showing audiences that the protagonist is aware of the destructive quality of his ambition, and his disruption of the natural order through this will lead to his eventual downfall. Hanks brother Jacob beings to experience a guilty conscience after they have taken the money; as a result of the men’s ambition. Hank’s words, “Everything goes to sleep”, was used in an effort to try and relax and make Jacob feel better about the situation they had gotten into. “Hank, do you ever feel evil, I do, I feel evil.” Through the use of a slow zoom into Jacob’s face and by also adding in soft eerie music, we can see how Raimi has shown the guilt on Jacob’s face.
Closing comparing ‘Macbeth’ and the film ‘A simple Plan’ has given us a sophisticated perspective on the way that Raimi has reimagined the idea of ambition from the play Macbeth. Macbeth and Hank both dream of power, as soon as it has stricken upon them. (Macbeth becoming king and Hank becoming Wealthy.) Ambition is presented as a dangerous quality. The downfall between Macbeth’s death as he becomes king and Hank having to return the money to not risk getting caught. Ambition in these men’s cases, is the lust of power. Macbeth is becoming extremely paranoid and afraid of losing his spot as king that he has driven to anger and starts to demand answers from the witches about Banquo (As they said before that Banquo’s descendants would become King.) “I command you in the name of whatever dark powers you serve. I don’t care if you unleash violent winds that tear down churches, mix up everything in nature, tell me what I want to know.” With the use of a Hyperbole, we can see Macbeth’s tone is quite demanding, “I command you.” “Tell me what I want to know.” Similar to Hank’s mindset, Macbeth ignores what harm he could have on other people, he wants to know the things he demands not matter what. Lady Macbeth and Sara also share a few similarities, when relating to how they impact their husbands’ choses and decisions. Both women use tactics in order to manipulate and convince Macbeth or Hank into following what they see right. “you’re gonna tape Luke confessing to Stephenson’s murder. Get him drunk and then joke around pretending to confess to his murder.” Similar to Lady Macbeth advising and telling Macbeth how to kill Kind Duncan, Sarah is forming up a Plan, giving Hank ideas on how to frame Luke for Stephenson’s murder, in order to cover up his tracks.
In the play ‘Macbeth’ we can come to a clear conclusion that the idea of ambition has been explored and reimaged throughout the film ‘A simple Plan.’ What both ‘Macbeth’ and ‘A simple Plan’ have taught us, is that the disruption of the natural order of things (the divine right of kings in Shakespeare’s context) will lead to eventual downfall.