Theme of Ambition and Greed in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Essay by Emurider14High School, 11th gradeA+, September 2003

download word file, 2 pages 3.3 4 reviews

Downloaded 59 times

Greed and Ambition

Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates that both greed and ambition can turn even the best of people into the worst.

Macbeth was a noble Scotsman in the beginning of the play. He fought to protect his country against traitor and the Norwegian. Furthermore, Macbeth was extremely loyal to the King; often paying homage and show a great amount of respect for the king. For example, Macbeth feels honored to serve the king and fight for him in battle. In return for Macbeth's loyalty, the king trust Macbeth and awards his valor with the title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth also invites the king over to stay the night at his castle in Invernere. It was common at the time for the king to spend the night at others' houses; however this was another way Macbeth could pay homage to the king.

After hearing the prophecies told by the witches, Macbeth sends a letter home to his wife to let her hear the good news.

Immediately she plans for Macbeth's takeover of the crown. When Macbeth arrives home he reveals to his wife his desires to become king. Lady Macbeth describes her plan to kill the king to Macbeth. Immediately, Macbeth becomes uneasy and shows it by not being a proper host to the king. When it comes time to kill the king, Macbeth starts to have second thoughts. He feels that he has just been honored and wishes to keep the honors given to him. However, Macbeth is persuaded by his wife and kills the king.

After his first murder, Macbeth feels the need to murder others to keep his crown. For example, Macbeth fears Banquo because he feels that Banquo will find out too much. Macbeth hires three murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. This is very unlike Macbeth from the beginning of the play. Macbeth and Banquo were once best friends, but Macbeth greed takes control and he does not care.

At the end of the play, Lady Macbeth kills herself out of guilt. When Macbeth learns of this, he shows no remorse. As a matter of fact, he seems to be only concerned with the fact that he is about to lose his crown. Macbeth's ambition has blinded any sensitivity he once had for his wife. This is ironic because it was his wife's convincing that made Macbeth become ambitious.

Macbeth is the perfect example of how greed can ruin the best of men. Macbeth was once a noble soldier and he was faithful to all friends and his wife; however, his own greed and ambition made him show no regret for the people he killed.