Major Theme Ambition in "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare

Categories: William Shakespeare

Shakespeare explores ideas around dangerous characteristics by showing that characters can be deceitful. A major theme in Macbeth' would be ambition, which is both Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's hamartia, this is important because Lady Macbeth's ambition causes her to lose sight and control of everyday life. Therefore, creating a dangerous character.

Shakespeare explores the idea of Lady Macbeth being dangerous through her instructions to take away her feminine attributes to gain more power. 'unsex me here, And fill me from crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty' The use of the phrase 'unsex me here' shows Lady Macbeth's lust for power, and also emphases that she sees her gender to be the only obstacle in the battle for power.

The phrase 'unsex me here' also demonstrates that Lady Macbeth subverts the idea that women were to express only feminine qualities. Meanwhile in the whole play Shakespeare explores the idea that Lady Macbeth is a dangerous character by her role in Duncans murder.

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'A little water clears us of this deed' this creates a dangerous impression of Lady Macbeth because she doesn't understand the severity of the situation, and doesn't appear to have a guilty conscience about being an accessory to murder. The use of the word 'little' also proves that she doesn't understand the severity of the situation because the word means small in size, so she is clearly disregarding the fact that murder is high treason, and could result in death if discovered. Another word that sticks out to me is 'deed' this is due to it suggesting she had been planning to kill the King for a while, as she is losing control over her lust for power.

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Shakespeare uses a reoccurring motif of birds to explore the dangerous characteristics that lady Macbeth has. 'the raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan' The raven is associated with death, which emphases that Lady Macbeth is dangerous because she sees it as a sign to kill Duncan and embraces her evil side. By using the words 'raven', ' hoarse' and 'croaks' it creates a dangerous impression of Lady Macbeth due to her imagining that the raven is bringing good news, that Duncan is coming to the castle and he will be killed. The raven not only acts as a messenger alerting the characters that the king will be coming to the castle, but it also has connotations of bad omen and death, which would suggest that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth followed through with their plan to murder the king. In the whole play, Shakespeare explores the idea that Lady Macbeth is a dangerous character by instructing Macbeth to profess his loyalty in order to help with her murderous plan. ' look like th'innocent flower, /But be the serpent under't'. The use of the simile demonstrates that Lady Macbeth is a dangerous character because it highlights her duplicitous qualities that she has adopted. The word 'serpent' has connotations of being disloyal and scheming, and during Jacobean times believed that it was an instrument used by Satan to tempt people into doing evil.

The simile may imply that Lady Macbeth believes Macbeth should have these qualities as a man and feel no remorse. In the extract Shakespeare uses different punctuation such as exclamation marks, commas and a semi colon to explore the idea that Lady Macbeth is a dangerous character and heighten tension.' Make thick my blood; stop up the access and passage to remorse' The use of the semi colon creates a pause, which consequently heightens the tension painting Lady Macbeth as a dangerous character. The metaphor 'Make thick my blood' explores the idea that Lady Macbeth is a dangerous character because it shows her view that in order to stay on track and help her husband achieve his full potential, she must thicken her blood to stop the natural flow of compassion and mercy. Shakespeare uses a soliloquy to explore the idea that Lady Macbeth is a dangerous character. Although it would appear that Lady Macbeth is only looking out for Macbeth the real reason, she wants to help is due to her lack of faith in him and her growing lust for power. It is important to see Lady Macbeth on her own because you can begin to see her true characteristics and how she reacts to Macbeth and his letter.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Major Theme Ambition in "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare. (2020, May 05). Retrieved from

Major Theme Ambition in "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare essay
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