The Theme of Ambition in Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Shakespeare’s ambition is a tragedy. The play has five acts and a series of scenes. There are a series of deaths; many characters including the protagonists, through their dictatorial ambitions are involved in serious conflicts, some political, social and economic which bring about their end. Shakespeare developed this play during the period of the 15th century. This was characterized by political revolutions in the western world, industrial revolution due to increased productivity, the emergence of new social ills and industries. Macbeth, the king is utterly over-ambitious. This destroys him, his family and close associates. This brings into question the morality of ambitions in life. If ambition brings about destruction to life, then it’s worth being discounted. Therefore, since Macbeth’s over ambitions led to negative effects in his life and those of other characters, then it is immoral.
Macbeth is a dictatorial king ruling with an iron rod. He trusts his thoughts to be right and above everyone else. He takes this afar and takes the destruction of his family and his ultimate destruction. He is contrasted with Malcolm who is a real leader. He listens and weighs the opinions of everybody. Malcolm’s moral character is worth society. He has ambitions too but he puts those of other people into consideration.
Shakespeare’s portrayal of power and politics is ironical. He tarnishes and laughs at the power and questions its worth. According to him, the idea behind the power is not to cause destruction but construction. However, if it is skewed to personal interests the effects are cumulative just like in the case of Macbeth who ends up being destroyed together with his family. When power encrypts overhead pretense and over ambitions, it turns to be poisonous with the worst consequences that can be unbearable.
Macbeth is a king who is foolishly in love with Lady Macbeth. He has political, economic and social powers. However, he has forgotten the limits of his kingship. He takes it up to his marriage and that is where he fails. His wife, Lady Macbeth casts doubt into their relationship especially at a point where Duncan is killed. She gets so much into Duncan in death that the king to her is just another human being. It is unexpected that as this happens, Macbeth becomes stronger.
In conclusion, Shakespeare’s over-ambition is misfortune. The way in which characters get finished is unfortunate. This anticlimax of the characters leads to serious literary criticism especially on the course of the events that led to their deaths. The universality of their actions impacts largely on the social, economic and political effects of dictatorial leadership versus the serenity of good leadership.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. S.l.: Naxos Audiobooks, 2005. Print.