Macbeth and Frankenstein comparison Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 9 August 2016

Macbeth and Frankenstein comparison

Both Victor and Macbeth have great qualities. Victor is smart and curious. He wants to fight disease and discover the mysteries of nature. Macbeth has a high ranking in society and has authority. They are both very well off and have good families but get greedy and end up ruining what they have. Macbeth gets carried away with his experiments and ends up losing all of his family and friends, and dies in the end of the story. The same thing happens to Macbeth. He gets carried away with his thirst for power, that he kills people even after he gains the throne, and ends up losing his friends and family, and also dies in the end of the story.

Both Macbeth and Frankenstein are powerful, ambitious characters. However, they have very different ambitions and desires. Macbeth’s ambition is to become king by committing murder whereas Frankenstein’s is to create life. For example “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.” -Victor Frankenstein, chapter 3 Frankenstein. “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.” -Macbeth, act 1 scene 4 Macbeth. Frankenstein wants to create something innovative and astonishing, something that he can be remembered for and something that will push the boundaries of life and science. This is evident when he says, “pioneer a new way” and “unfold to the world the deepest mysteries.”

We can understand why Frankenstein is driven by creative ambition when he uses the word “pioneer” which indicates to the reader that he wants to be the “leader” of this science in the future and wants to make progress beyond existing limits. Furthermore, the word “deepest” does have some connotations of “dark” and “unknown;” this could be foreshadowing to the reader what is to come. Unlike Frankenstein, Macbeth is completely consumed by his ambition to kill.

He has to commit murder to achieve his goals and his ambition is a major factor in what leads him to do so. Macbeth is already in a highly regarded position within his kingdom, but once he has had a taste of this newfound power, his desire for more cannot be stopped. “Stars,” in the eyes of a Jacobean audience, would suggest something heavenly or Godly. So by saying this it is almost blasphemes: Macbeth is asking God to turn a blind eye on what he is about to do and asking that his true, evil intentions not be understood by his peers, “black and deep desires.” Both Macbeth and Frankenstein, to their respective audiences, would have been viewed as people defying the boundaries of life and humanity.

The stories of “Macbeth” and Frankenstein are two texts depicting the life and tragic flaws of the two main characters which bring them to an eventual downfall. The two pieces of writing have both similar and different characteristics between them. It can be argued that the texts present much of the same story line, only written in very different time periods. Shakespeare’s famous play, “Macbeth”, was written in 1606 in honour of King James’ coronation, while Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein was written as a gothic novel in 1818. Despite the different time periods that they were written in, both of the stories contain a dark and supernatural atmosphere which evokes feelings of terror in readers. “Macbeth” and Frankenstein share similar quests and tragic flaws, but the treatment of their loved ones is very different.

In regards to the quests of the ‘monsters’ in each story, they are very similar in a number of different ways. In Shakespeare’s tale, Macbeth’s quest was that of power. He was bent on being king, so much so that he compromised everything to become the king. All of his ambition and efforts were directed at becoming king and staying king. To him, this required the murder of the previous king, King Duncan. Later on we see that he has even more innocent men, women, and children killed in hopes of sealing his position of power.

For example, Banquo and McDuff’s wife and children were murdered at Macbeth’s orders because they directly or indirectly posed a threat to his throne. In Frankenstein’s case, his quest is simply to have power over death. He successfully creates life from death, but fails to see the long-term consequences for his actions, resulting in much more death than life. In both cases, the characters were aiming for a goal that can easily lead to compromise and ruin, and that is the goal of power.

It is in no way wrong to have a desire to become king or strive to discover a way to overcome sickness and disease, but when those desire’s get out of control and there is simply too much ambition, then often the measures that are taken to achieve these desires are wrong. For example, Frankenstein made the mistake of prioritizing his creation over his relationship to Elizabeth, his fiancée. Macbeth also sacrifices his reputation and integrity to become king for a short period of time filled with internal struggle and guilt. As you can see, both of the ‘monsters’ end up sacrificing things that they shouldn’t have in order to achieve their goals.

One of the biggest differences between the two stories is the way in which the characters treat their loved ones, the ones they hold dear to themselves. In both cases, neither of our characters treated them very well. In Frankenstein’s case, the ones that he cared about or should have cared about most were his beloved Elizabeth, his father, his brother, and best friend, Henry Clerval. Throughout the entire novel, Frankenstein is completely consumed by his creation of the monster. First of all, he isolates himself from his loved ones to create the monster, and abandons them more and more as he becomes depressed and later embarks on another project to appease the monster he has created.

Finally, he realizes that as a result of abandoning his own creation and abandoning his family and friends, he has lost them all. In Macbeth’s case, his loved one, Lady Macbeth, was deeply involved in his wrong actions and even inspired some of them. She was the master mind behind the plot to assassinate King Duncan and convinced Macbeth to do the deed. After all the shedding of innocent blood, the long and sleepless nights, and the never ending struggle with guilt, Lady Macbeth took her own life, leaving Macbeth alone to face his much deserved death. Instead of looking out for his wife, Macbeth instead abandons her to hopelessness and ultimate despair as he murderously presses on in his quest for power.

In conclusion, after looking taking a little closer by comparing and contrasting them these two texts, we can discover that they have their similarities and their differences. Both Macbeth and Frankenstein share a similar quest, and that is the quest for power. They also both have the same weaknesses of too much ambition and not enough integrity. However, we can also see that the characters differ in regards to how they treat their loved ones. Macbeth includes his wife in his evil deeds, resulting in her death. Frankenstein abandons the monster and excludes his family and friends, resulting in their deaths too. Therefore, it could be said that “Macbeth” and Frankenstein share similar quests and tragic flaws, but the treatment of their loved ones is very different.

Free Macbeth and Frankenstein comparison Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 9 August 2016

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