Can you help me with two good thesis statements to write an essay about ambition related to guilt/conscience in Macbeth?

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A thesis statement should be clear and direct.  Since Macbeth is determined to become king, he is willing to do anything.  Later, the guilt of what he has done gets the best of him.  I would focus on something like this:

In Macbeth conscience is only temproarily ignored, and returns to haunt its owners.

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First idea: Does Macbeth only feel guilt because his ambition was too great for his own talents and strengths? His plan worked and Duncan is dead. If he were the man he had believed he was, would be be guilty?

This is a way at looking at Macbeth's ambition as a self-deception and his guilt as a self-realization. He is guilty because he has fooled himself into a false self-concept...

Second idea: Can we read Macbeth as a greek style tragedy where guilt, moral punisment, and the pangs of conscience are divinely oriented? If so, when one's ambition is to committ an evil act guilt will surely follow.

This is a way of looking at the story as a cause and effect tale of self-punishment. By asking for power, Macbeth has also asked for punishment.

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Does not Macbeth subjugate his guilt and conscience to his "vaulting ambition" whereas Lady Macbeth's guilty conscience overtakes her ambition?  Perhaps, then, you can examine how deadly deeds affect the human psyche in Macbeth by means of character analyses that compares and contrasts the two main personages.

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You might like to explore the theme of guilt and conscience through an examination of the character of Lady Macbeth, as she seems to be one of the best representations of this theme. Consider the following thesis statement:

The character of Lady Macbeth in Macbeth is one that gives testament to the power of guilt through her reaction to the crimes she willingly involved herself in.

This thesis statement would enable you to explore the theme of guilt from her perspective.

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One thesis which would address Macbeth's ambition would be as follows:

Macbeth's growing ambition changed him from a honorable and respected man to that of a ruthless murderer whose guilt eventually caught up with him.

Another thesis statement which would speak to Macbeth's ambition and guilt could be:

Macbeth, a man driven by ambition, could not escape from the guilt which haunted him.

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You'll find some detailed responses at this link:

http://www.enotes.com/macbeth/q-and-a/can-you-help-me-with-two-good-thesis-statements-305469

It's worth remembering that when you are looking for evidence to support your points, you can go to Google Books and search for such topics as "conscience in Macbeth," "guilt in Macbeth," etc.  You can also search for those topics on basic Google.

 

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As this question was first categorized under religion, I’m assuming a religious focus to these themes.

You can develop two different theses about religious themes of guilt in Macbeth by thinking about the two different religious contexts of the play, the Roman Catholicism of the historical dramatic setting and the Calvinism of the Church of Scotland during the reign of James I, who was also James VI of Scotland (although himself possibly with Roman Catholic leanings).

Under the Roman Catholic system of guilt and conscience, even acts such as murder could be atoned for through either time spent in Purgatory after death or compensatory good works (and indulgences using, as it were, the banked excess merits of saints) before death. Thus for a thesis: “The guilt of the characters in Macbeth and the possibility of atoning for that guilt can be assessed under the system of Roman Catholic canon law.”

Calvinism emphasizes predestination. Thus for a thesis related to reformation Scotland: “Within Augustinian theology, especially as interpreted by Calvin, Macbeth would have been predestined to his actions; this raises the important question of whether we should think of guilt as a demerit deserved because of the corrupted will of the Macbeth or simply the degree to which any non-elect individual participates in Original Sin.”

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