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Macbeth and Ambition Essay

Ambition is a strong feeling of wanting to be successful in achieving a goal (Encarta Dictionary). An example of an ambition is in the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. The main character, Macbeth is described as “not without ambition,” (Shakespeare, 1.5. 19) to become the king. Therefore, he has the drive, and he desires for the success of becoming the king. However, by achieving his goal and satisfying his ambition, the character’s soul and characteristics are gradually corrupted. As Macbeth satisfies his goal, he will change from being a kind natured person to someone who is ill. He will lose his honesty. He will also lose his holiness and begin to become evil. In Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the theme, satisfying one’s ambition can lead to corruption of the soul, is demonstrated in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15 – 33 through metaphor, alliteration, and connotation.

The theme of satisfaction of one’s ambition leading to corruption is present in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15-33 and can be seen through the use of metaphor. The author uses a metaphor to describe him as “full o’ th’ milk of human kindness,” (Shakespeare, 1.5.17). He compares Macbeth’s kindness to “full o’ th’ milk”. This implies that Macbeth is the most kind, sweet, and warm-hearted. He is complete with these characteristics. However, in order to satisfy his ambition, “The illness should attend it,” (Shakespeare, 1.5.20) Macbeth’s kindness will not be able to help him achieve his goal, so he must become ill. “Illness” has a negative connation, meaning morally bad, unkind, evil, or intending harm (Encarta Dictionary).

By becoming ill, he will be corrupting his soul, changing his characteristics from good to bad. Through Macbeth’s character change from being kind, demonstrated by a metaphor, to being ill, the theme of satisfaction of an ambition leading to the corruption of the soul can easily be seen in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15 – 33 of Macbeth. The theme of satisfaction of one’s ambition leading to corruption is present in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15-33 and can also be seen through the use of alliteration. Lady Macbeth says Macbeth “wouldst not play false,” (Shakespeare, 1.5.21). This implies that Macbeth is honest, since he would never do false or lie. Lady Macbeth than uses alliteration to describe what must be done in order to achieve his ambition; he “wouldst wrongly win” (Shakespeare, 1.5.20) Every word in this phrase begins the sound “w”, making it an alliteration.

These words have opposite connotations. The word, “wrongly” has a negative connotation, meaning mistakenly, and to fail to conform to ideas of morality or justice (Encarta Dictionary). On the other hand, winning has a more positive connotation, meaning victorious and succeeding (Encarta Dictionary). If Macbeth “wouldst wrongly win,” (Shakespeare, 1.5.20), he is succeeding amorally and mistakenly. He is not supposed to succeed in becoming the king and achieving his ambition because it is a mistake. He is winning without justice, or cheating. By winning, or achieving his ambition, he must cheat, losing his honest ways and become dishonest. His soul will become corrupt by becoming dishonest. Thus, Macbeth’s character change from being honest to being dishonest, displayed by alliteration, the theme of satisfaction of an ambition leading to the corruption of the soul can easily be seen in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15 – 33 of Macbeth.

The theme of satisfaction of one’s ambition leading to corruption is present in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15-33 and can also be seen through the use of connotation. Lady Macbeth describes as someone who does, “holily” (Shakespeare, 1.5.20). The word “holily” has a positive connotation. By doing “holily”, he is virtuous, pure, serving God, and has morals (Encarta Dictionary). In order to satisfy his ambition, he must be involved with “metaphysical”, (1.5.32). This word has negative connotation because it is referring to the three witches that predicted Macbeth’s fate.

These witches are related to Hecate, a goddess of witchcraft and evil (http://www.theoi.com). Since the three witches are working with the goddess of evil, their intentions are also evil. To satisfy his ambition, Macbeth must be involved with these evil beings. Macbeth will change from a person who does holily, pure, and does things related to God, to a person who is involved with evil beings. This illustrates the corruption of his soul. Therefore, Macbeth’s character change from being involved with God, and being pure to being involved with evil beings, displayed by connotation, the theme of satisfaction of an ambition leading to the corruption of the soul can easily be seen in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15 – 33 of Macbeth.

In Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the theme, satisfying one’s ambition can lead to corruption of the soul, is demonstrated in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15 – 33 through metaphor, alliteration, and connotation. The main character Macbeth changes from being kind to ill. He also loses his honesty and becomes a cheater. Macbeth also becomes a person who served God to a person who is involved to evil beings. Therefore, the theme satisfying your ambition leading to the corruption of the soul is present in Act 1, Scene 5, lines 15 – 33 through metaphor, alliteration, and connotation.


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