Macbeth explores the temptation of absolute power and the corruption caused when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints, which has an ongoing relevance to the timeless nature of human condition. Upon hearing his future greatness from the weird sisters, Macbeth’s dormant ambition awakens for the first time very much like how lectures or speeches can prompt ambition in society today. However for Macbeth, this entices him to discard his prior self, a man of honour and prestige, and allows him to transcend to a being that is driven and blinded by an insatiable thirst for power. When Macbeth abandons his original ethics and begins to murder for selfish purposes, his ambition unchecked by moral constraint leads to his corruption. Whilst talking about his prophesised rise to power, Macbeth states that he “burned in desire”(1.5.3). Using metaphoric language Shakespeare emphasizes the lust Macbeth has for power, and also gives the audience a sense of how much corruption the unchecked ambition has caused, as Macbeth’s desire begins to rampage. This is shown through the employment of the high modality word, “burned” as an adjective for desire. Macbeth admits to himself that he has “no spur to prick the sides of his intent, but only vaulting ambition”(1.7.25-27). is shown here through soliloquy that, in the deep chasms Macbeth’s brain, he has already chosen to give up any intent or morality he has about the killing King Duncan and makes his drive solely ambition. The events that occur next, the killing of Duncan, shows how far ambition, that is unchecked by morality, has driven Macbeth to commit the highest of treason, regicide.
- Macbeth lust for power is what drives his ambition and discarding morality is key factor
- oedipal complex – usually wants to take fathers place with mother
- must content with rival to dad
- power is symbolic of the mother
- Macbeth throws away morality
- nothing stopping from killing to attain power
One of the key factors as to why Macbeth retains its ongoing relevance, today, is due to Shakespeare’s dramatic representation of the consequential events that occur, when havoc is wreaked upon The Great Chain of Being. The Chain of Being was a largely influential and significant concept in Macbeth, Renaissance England and throughout history. It was an idea that mapped out God’s natural hierarchy to the world and all its inhabitants, and was believed that the land and its people can only thrive under the rule of a morally righteous and just king. Similarly, this notion is being implemented ubiquitously in the modern society. For example, if a governing body, rotten from corruption, urges more power and more production, the people will often feel oppressed and taken advantage of. This will then instigate a rebellion and eventually result in absolute chaos. Macbeth causes the ultimate disruption when he commits regicide and seizes the throne.