Homework Help

What is the theme of Macbeth?

user profile pic

jamibita | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 11, 2009 at 1:24 PM via web

dislike 4 like

What is the theme of Macbeth?

9 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 11, 2009 at 1:56 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 7 like

The major theme of the play concerns Macbeth, the play's protagonist and tragic hero. From Macbeth's rise, fall, and destruction, a clear idea develops concerning political ambition: The lust for power--unfettered ambition--leads to the destruction of self and of others. In other words, once Macbeth's ambition is aroused, his overwhelming desire for the throne of Scotland leads to his own destruction as well as to the destruction of many other characters in the play.

As a result of his desire to claim and then retain the crown, Macbeth turns into a liar first, then a murderer, and finally a tyrant under whom Scotland suffers. By the conclusion of the play, Macbeth's actions have resulted directly in the deaths of King Duncan; Banquo; Lady Macduff, her children and servants; young Siward; many soldiers; and finally his own death. Indirectly, Macbeth also plays an important role in his wife's suicide, having been her accomplice, especially in Duncan's murder.

user profile pic

Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 11, 2009 at 7:22 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 3 like

The theme of Macbeth centers on how ambition and greed can overpower morality and overrun human nature. 

The natural wish of all leaders to increase their power, such as Macbeth, transforms throughout the play from wish to ambition, to greed, to aberration.

This unnatural desire for power is the force that possesses the main characters consistently and with dire consequences.

Macbeth is a leader with good qualities. The audience can almost catch itself feeling sorry for his decline towards madness. This shows that ambition is stronger, more powerful and more consequential than Macbeth himself, hence ambition in itself could also be considered character on its own.

user profile pic

wwjd | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 18, 2009 at 11:42 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Some of the major themes in Macbeth are: ambition, apperarance vs. reality, honour, power, and greed.

user profile pic

suvini | Student | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:46 PM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

1. Prophesy- regarding what the witches told Macbeth

2. Guilt Remorse- regarding the hallucinations, sleep walking. How they both regret what they did

3. Ghosts and visions- hallucinations the three apparitions how he believes it

4. The natural / supernatural- witches can control fate according to the play. They make predictions. The natural is when the birham forest comes alive

5. Equivocation-used to justify a theory indirectly. “Fair is foul and foul is fair”

6. Damnation- talks about christian belifs

7. Ambition-how Macbeth and lady Macbeth strive fro their ambition ultimately ending up with greed

user profile pic

justice1439 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:19 AM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

The theme to me seems to be Murder/Death

user profile pic

keshavagarwal | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:04 AM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

The main theme of macbeth is

the corrupting nature of an unchecked ambition. IT leads macbeth to his downfall and degenerates him to a "bloody tyrant"

user profile pic

zumba96 | TA , Grade 11 | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted April 30, 2014 at 3:07 AM (Answer #10)

dislike 0 like

Fate and Free Will, Ambition, Power, Versions of Reality

user profile pic

abdulkareem | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 5, 2010 at 9:44 PM (Answer #8)

dislike -1 like

The theme of macbeth is uncontroll ambition.

user profile pic

shangooo | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 9, 2011 at 1:24 AM (Answer #9)

dislike -2 like

the main theme in macbeth is ambition.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes