The Power Of Ambition In Macbeth

1288 Words6 Pages
Shakespeare portrays the undeniable power of ambition throughout “Macbeth”. Ambition is a corrupting and unrelenting force in which Lady Macbeth and Macbeth fall victim to. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth show a desire for power. However, Lady Macbeth shows more ambition in getting immediate power. Lady Macbeth takes on a masculine persona in order to commence her plans. Rather than taking a back seat and following her husband’s instructions like the other women of this time period, Lady Macbeth takes the initiative and formulates a plan to kill King Duncan as soon as she learns of the prophecy. She emotionlessly explains to her husband, “Only look up clear./ To alter favor ever is to fear./ Leave all the rest to me” (1.5.70-72).
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Lady Macbeth is able to distinguish herself as a dominant force in the spousal relationship. In doing this, Lady Macbeth is taking on a man’s role of being portrayed as dominant and assertive. This is exemplified before King Duncan’s visit to the Macbeth’s home. Lady Macbeth declares, “Must be provided for; and you shall put/ This night’s great business into my dispatch,/ Which shall to all our nights and days to come/ Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.” (1.5 66-69). Lady Macbeth is able to seize control of the situation and demand that Macbeth be put together when King Duncan visits their home. Macbeth is taking on a more feminine role by being submissive to his spouse’s orders. Lady Macbeth is also able to accomplish a regaining of control after Macbeth kills Duncan. Women are portrayed as being sensitive, however during this scene, Macbeth is sensitive rather than Lady Macbeth. Macbeth does not plant the murder weapon with the king’s grooms in order to put blame on these men. Lady Macbeth sees this and takes matters into her own hands when Macbeth refuses to return to the room in which Duncan’s body lays. Lady Macbeth bellows, “Infirm of purpose!/ Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead/ Are but as pictures; 'tis the eye of childhood/ That fears a painted devil” (2.2. 55-58). Lady Macbeth’s ability to show dominance and control and Macbeth’s weakness portrays a reversal in traditional gender…show more content…
After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth is portrayed as emotionally unstable. Macbeth presents himself as weak and guilt ridden. Macbeth exclaims, “I’ll go no more./ I am afraid to think what I have done;/ Look on ’t again /I dare not.” (2.2.52-55). Macbeth shows that he is remorseful and cannot handle the truth in regards to his actions. Lady Macbeth, however, is initially unfazed by the idea of murder and retains this mindset immediately after Duncan is murdered. Lady Macbeth exclaims, “Infirm of purpose!/ Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead/ Are but as pictures; 'tis the eye of childhood/ That fears a painted devil” (2.2. 55-58). Lady Macbeth shows the masculine qualities of being strong minded and unfazed by
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