An Analysis of the Theme of Evil Ambition in the Play Macbeth by William Shakespeare

In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the image of evil to convey the outcome of ambition run amuck. By using evil as a force in the play, audiences get a feeling a loss of control of Macbeth and the sense of fear. Evil is defined in Shakespeares Glossary as, sin, crime, misfortune, calamity and things that are unwholesome. In the beginning the sense of evil in Macbeth is created through the witches. They feed on what is foul and corrupt: When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightening, or rain?(A1. sc1.) This image of the witches was real to the people of these times. To them and King James I, witches did exist.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air: (A1. sc1.) This quote proves the witches hatred for all things good, and their love for things that are evil. It is clear that the witches are the roots of evil in the play. Evil is spread through them, in the form of ambition to Macbeth, and his wife. The witches cause Macbeth to think of what it would be like to be King of Scotland: All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter. (A1.sc.3) In turn the thought of regicide comes into being within Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth sets Macbeths ambition into motion; she persuades Macbeth to take action through her own ambition: Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor! Greater than both, by all-hail hereafter! Lady Macbeth recognises that her husband is ambitious, but worries that he is without, The illness should attend it (A1 sc.5). She thinks that he is not ruthless enough.

When Macbeth illustrates his fears of failing, Lady Macbeth says: But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And well not fail. (A1 sc.6)

Lady Macbeth is the mastermind behind the killing Duncan, and its Macbeth that commits the evil deed because Lady Macbeth, being a woman cannot. In Macbeth, for although his lady for a time dominates him, and although her tragedy is almost equal to his, in the end he dominates the play (Paul A. Jorgens)

The second evil act is the actual crime of regicide against Duncan. Shakespeare uses the chilling sounds of the night to let you know the evil deed has been done. I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry (Lady M. A2 sc.2)

It is evident that Macbeth uses the symbolism of night to enhance the instance of evil in the play: Darkness we may even say blackness, broods over this tragedy. It is remarkable that almost all the scenes which once recur to memory take place either at night or in some dark spot. The vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, the sleep walking of Lady Macbeth all come in night scenes. (Bradley)

With the murder of Duncan comes un-natural happenings, which is recurring in Shakespearean tragedies: And Duncans horses- a thing most strange and certain- Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, Turnd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, Contending gainst obedience, as they would make war with mankind. Tis said they eat each other. (A2 sc4) Evil acts and wickedness in the play gives way to confusion and calamity.

Our main character, Macbeth, is apart from other tragic characters, Macbeth is a hero who becomes progressively evil, but his wife begins as an evil force and then becomes overwhelmingly regretful. In the beginning of the play he is war hero, who does not care for fortune, but when the witches gives him the idea of being prevailing over all, you see his concealed pride. In turn that gives flight to the evil that lurks within him.

In Act III, Macbeth is feeling strained, but he still continues on his wicked trek of murder to stay king of Scotland. The killing of Duncan had taken too much out of him, he has too much guilt, and so instead of committing the evil deed against Banquo and his son himself, he hires three murderers. Macbeth considers Banquos suitability as a future king and finds himself coming in as a poor second.

He dwells on the prophecy that Banquo will father a line of kings, while he has a fruitless crown and a barren sceptre which will be wrenched by an unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding (A3.sc1.)

Macbeth has lost any virtues or goodness after he hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. Banquo was his best friend, but Macbeth has been blinded by ambition, he wants only power now, and he wants to make sure no one stands in his way.

Shakespeare made Macbeths characters transform before the eyes of his audience. Evil ambitions have enveloped them with a blanket of blood and sin. Lady Macbeth goes so far to succeed ambition that she defeminizes herself in Act I. Macbeth realizes that his actions dooms him, he know that if gets away with murder here, he will not getaway with it in the afterlife.

In Act 1. Sc. 7 Macbeth considers the moral implications of killing a good and virtuous king. His only justification is ambition. As chaos swarms around Macbeth he grows more tyrannical, as king. People question his rule, they sense that he is not the rightful king: Angus uses a clothing image to describe Macbeths kingship: his title, hang loose upon him, like a giants robe, Upon a dwarfish thief (A5 sc1.)

At the end of this play Macbeths evil ambition has been replaced with courage. When he finds that the witches apparitions have tricked him. He embraces his fate when he fights Macduff. This is the end of the play, it is where the evil ambitions have vanished, and Scotland now has a rightful king. Malcolm closes the play as the king, making a speech of hope for a new and peaceful Scotland.

In conclusion Shakespeare shows that evilness can bring down the most heroic and strongest of men, by attacking what is weak within them. In this case Macbeths weakness was his self- condemning ambition.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
$0.00
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
Testimonials
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Data 564
excellent work
Customer 452773, April 11th, 2024
FIN571
excellent work
Customer 452773, March 1st, 2024
History
Looks great and appreciate the help.
Customer 452675, April 26th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, July 17th, 2023
Social Work and Human Services
Although it took 2 revisions I am satisfied but I did receive it late because of that.
Customer 452603, March 25th, 2021
Nursing
Impressive writing
Customer 452547, February 6th, 2021
Leadership Studies
excellent job as always
Customer 452773, September 2nd, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent work
Customer 452773, July 3rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
always perfect work and always completed early
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
ACC543MANAGERIALACCOUNTINGANDLEGALASPECTS
excellent
Customer 452773, January 25th, 2024
Leadership Studies
awesome work as always
Customer 452773, August 19th, 2023
Managerial Accounting & Legal Aspects of Business ACC/543
excellent work
Customer 452773, February 7th, 2024
11,595
Customer reviews in total
96%
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
37%
Customers referred by a friend
OUR GIFT TO YOU
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Close

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp