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Macbeth by William Shakespeare: The Purpose of Macbeth

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As William Shakespeare weaved the storylines of his plays, he considered both the ignorant lowlife and the insightful intellectual. He constructed them to be entertaining enough to humor those with little intelligence, but also meaningful enough to attract intellectuals. In this particular play, “Macbeth”, Shakespeare makes a commentary about human nature as well as delivering his own personal message.

His message is portrayed through the actions of Lady Macbeth prior to the murder of Duncan, as well as Macbeth’s actions following it. The message being portrayed is that unbridled ambition and desire is destructive. Lady Macbeth’s sheer desire to please Macbeth would result in the brutal murder of her suckling baby, Lady Macbeth informs the reader. Synonymous to her desire to please Macbeth was her lust for the throne. Her obsession led her into conniving Macbeth into committing a murder that he did not want to commit. Similar to this desire was Macbeth’s aspirations to eliminate all those threatening his reign. His ambition to maintain control and absolute power over Scotland was so powerful, his previous personality as a compassionate, benevolent man drastically changed into that of a murderous tyrant.

This message of Shakespeare’s lends to his beliefs about human nature. Shakespeare believes that human nature is prone to evil and that people are greedy. He illustrates this in the Macbeths’ desire to become King and Queen. This greed led them to resort to extreme measures such as regicide. In Macbeth’s case, his greed led him to killing many other people, such as Banquo, Lady Macduff, the guards, etc, because he felt they could be a threat to his kingship. Tyranny is a more accurate description of Macbeth’s reign- while Duncan allowed power to be shared among lords and such, Macbeth claimed all power for himself.

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