Macbeth Unchecked Ambition Essay

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In Macbeth, Shakespeare intensifies the theme that unchecked ambitions cause an individual to partake in wrongdoings, resulting in an immense amount of guilt, by using the motifs of blood and sleep. The story of Macbeth is about Macbeth, an honorable soldier, getting a prophecy that he'll become king. He becomes King, but to maintain his status, he kills an increasing number of people with growing paranoia and guilt. Unchecked ambition is an excessive desire to achieve a certain goal, blinding an individual from possible consequences. This excessive desire is demonstrated by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth throughout Shakespeare’s play. Their unchecked ambitions to gain power and status cause them to gradually be involved in more dangerous acts …show more content…

Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to kill Duncan, being more heartless than Macbeth. Macbeth kills Duncan to become king and is consumed with guilt. Shortly after the killing, he claims that he heard a voice tell him to "sleep no more” and that he "[murders]" "innocent sleep" (2.2.47-48). Macbeth is having internal struggles, not being able to sleep because of the guilty voices that engulf his mind. The innocence that he once had is gone, making him unable to sleep. As the play progresses, Macbeth’s unchecked ambitions get progressively more out of hand, as his murders progress. He kills his close friend, Banquo to prevent the potential threat of Banquo’s heirs claiming the throne. Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo and tells lady Macbeth that he’ll visit the witches again. Lady Macbeth says that he “[lacks]” “sleep” which is a necessity for “all nature” (3.4.173). He continues to lack sleep, showing that his guilt is continuous and that he’ll never be at peace as he’s unable to escape the actions that haunt him. The lack of sleep caused by guilt gives the reader insight into the psychological toll that guilt has taken on Macbeth and Lady …show more content…

After killing Duncan, he exclaims that he wishes for “all” the water in the “ocean” to “wash” “blood clean from [his] hand” (2.2.60-62). Shortly after, Lady Macbeth replies by saying that a small amount of water can wash away the blood that he sees. However, Lady Macbeth’s opinion changes after Duncan kills Lord of Fife’s innocent family, she starts going psychologically insane. In her sleep, Lady Macbeth constantly washed her hands, trying to get “out” the “spot” of invisible blood on her hand after being reminded of her guilt. Now, she sees the blood just like her husband did earlier and becomes swallowed by guilt from encouraging her husband to partake in these crimes. Lady Macbeth who was once ruthless and unaffected by crime, is now mentally insane from guilt, ultimately taking her own

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