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How Shakespeare Shows the Consequences of Blind Ambition Through Act 3 Scene 4 and Other Relating Scenes

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Discuss how Shakespeare shows the consequences of blind ambition through act 3 scene 4 and other relating scenes.

In Macbeth blind ambition is presented as a dangerous quality resulting in a series of deaths and the gradual downfall of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, developing the theme of blind ambition as a major driving force of the play. Macbeth’s blind ambition was driven by two main aspects including the prophesies of the witches and the encouragement from Lady Macbeth, who convinces him to overcome his strong sense of guilt and take actions to carry out the prophecies to become king. Soon enough, Macbeth’s blind ambition spirals out of control forcing him to commit to one crime that leads to another to coverup his previous offences.

The tragedy, Macbeth, depicts through various characters and techniques the dangers of ambitious natures, and its perpetual consequences. These concepts ultimately convey invaluable notions of the effects of one’s desire for power.

 Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy Macbeth, first performed in 1611, explores the illegitimate rise to power and the ultimate demise of the protagonist Macbeth. Consumed by ambition and spurred into action by his wife, Macbeth fulfils the prophecy of “the three dark and midnight hags” by murdering the benevolent King Duncan and seizing the throne. The themes of kingship and tyranny and the corrupting power of unchecked ambition are clearly exemplified through the skilful manipulation of literary devices and draw distinction between masculinity and cruelty. [Answer question eg. Ultimately, …answer question (here)]

Body paragraph 1, act 3-scene 4:

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s vaulting ambition and power-driven desires have resulted in devastating consequences as they achieved their goals through absolute corruption. Lady Macbeth said to her husband that “this is the very painting of your fear. This is the air-drawn dagger which you said led you to Duncan.” The metaphorical expression is a direct reference to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s insatiable hunger for power, which overshadows their conscience. It is against Macbeth’s courageous character as illustrated at the beginning of the play, to take the cowardly action at this given moment to murder Duncan while he is asleep. Furthermore, Macbeth’s ambition in eliminating his threats is metaphorically represented through his description on the killing of Banquo. He depicts the death of Banquo as “the grown serpent lies” but for his son, Fleance, he is still “the worm that fled hath nature”. However, in time, the young serpent will “venom breed.” This effectively illustrates that Macbeth murdered his best friend Banquo because of his ambition but is cautious of Fleance who will later become a risk for his throne. Shakespeare uses foreshadowing and metaphor to describe Fleance as a snake that could strike anytime in order to revenge for his father’s death. However, towards the end of the scene, the stage direction indicates the entrance of Ghost of Banquo and sits in Macbeth’s place. Banquo’s Ghost is a vivid portrayal for the audiences demonstrating Macbeth’s mental instability, and how he is haunted by his conscience as a product of his ambitious acts. Shakespeare has clearly orchestrated a drama where individuals must endure the detrimental consequences of their blind ambition as illustrated by the downfall of the protagonist.

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