Banquo's Ambition In Act 4 Scene 1 Macbeth

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Act 4 Scene 1 in “Macbeth” is made such a memorable moment in the play by Shakespeare, as it demonstrates the uncontrollable nature of Macbeth's ambition, foreshadows the ending of the play and uses the supernatural to exploit the one weakness of Macbeth, soon to be his downfall. It is where Macbeth finds out that after all the people he has killed, his throne will be lost after him.
The Witches are an evil supernatural force – their “strange intelligence” and ability to predict the future gives them power over humans. In Act 4 Scene 1 they are the first character we meet and their evil sets the scene for everything to come: thunder and lighting, an example of pathetic fallacy, suggest the havoc that Scotland is about to experience. The Witches’
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It changes him from a “valiant” soldier to a “dead butcher”. Ultimately it becomes a “fatal flaw”, leading to Macbeth aiming too high so that he fails and eventually loses everything. The previous apparitions have been taken at face value by Macbeth because that is what he wants to hear and this has led to him thinking he is untouchable. This an example of the witches’ deception. However, the fourth apparition with Banquo strips away all this confidence. The endless line of Banquo’s descendants is torturing to Macbeth as “thy crown does sear mine eyeballs”, he can almost feel the pain as Macbeth is forced to come to terms with the inheritance of the throne. In doing so, the guilt of killing Banquo returns to him as he notices that Banquo is “blood-bolstered” but still he “smiles”. The matting of blood in Banquo’s hair and the presence of his eight heirs creates a horrific, haunting image mocking the stability of Macbeth’s throne. However, despite Macbeth’s initial feelings of dejection and the “pernicious” effect of the apparition he continues to pursue his plans and descend further into evil. Shakespeare creates dramatic tension by showing Macduff’s escape at the point when Macbeth is in pursuit. This acts as a trigger for the play to move forward as now “the now the very firstlings of” his “heart” are going to be acted on and he suffer the consequence and mental justification

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