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What are some quotes that show Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's greed for the throne?'Greed...

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chaden | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 22, 2009 at 1:45 PM via web

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What are some quotes that show Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's greed for the throne?

'Greed is the ultimate sin' is my essay question.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 23, 2009 at 2:40 AM (Answer #1)

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I will give you a few and then leave you to find the rest - the best way to get a good mark is to read the play after all! These should give you a few starting points though.

Although we can identify greed in Macbeth, the word doesn't actually appear in this play. Rather, ambition (which is after all a kind of greed) is much more prevalent. We know that Macbeth has "black and deep desires" from his first soliloquy and it is clear that Lady Macbeth, his "partner in greatness" has high ambitions for her husband too.

Consider Macbeth's response to Malcolm being made Prince of Cumberland:

The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires.

Another key quote has to be Lady Macbeth speaking to her husband and dangling future possibilities in front of him:

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised.

In addition, Macbeth states: "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself, and falls on the other." It is this greed or ambition that drives the play and results in such a high body count.

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