Uncontrolled ambition leads to destruction to self and those around them. How Shakespeare shows us this: through the use of the motif of blood, motif of sleep and soliloquies   What...

Uncontrolled ambition leads to destruction to self and those around them.

How Shakespeare shows us this: through the use of the motif of blood, motif of sleep and soliloquies

 

What examples/quotes can be used here? [for the above 3 techniques Shakespeare has used]

Asked on by amyk003

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Does not history always prove that uncontrolled ambition is destructive?  We need only examine the lives of Alexander the Great, the Caesars, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Stalin, Sadaam Hussain, and many others to see the ruin of "vaulting ambition."

There obviously is a reason why certain qualities in humans are called vices.  For, they are by their very essence destructive.  What happens when, like others, Macbeth focuses solely on his becoming king is that he cannot be satisfied until he is; in addition he loses sight of reality and becomes paranoid, fearing obsessively that others will prohibit him from attaining his goal.

First he sees the "bloody danger before" him, and having taken it in hand, he and his doppelganger, Lady Macbeth cannot sleep as they develop paranoia.  Lady Macbeth demonstrates this paranoia as she obsessively sleepwalks and tries to wipe out the spots of Duncan's blood. Say the witches,

Sleep shall neither night nor day

Hang upon his penthouse lid;

He shall live a man forbid

Weary se'nnights nine times nine

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine;

Though his bark cannot be lost,

Yet it shall be tempest tos't. (3.1.20-27)

 

mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Here's the recipe for the "wholly tragic" action of Macbeth:

Ambition can subvert reason. •“Thou wouldst be great; art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.” –Act I, Scene 5

When supernatural powers represent evil, they should be ignored. •“Accursed be the tongue that tells me so, for it hath cowed my better part of man! And be these juggling fiends no more believed.” Act V, Scene 8

• The natural order is disrupted by any upset in the proper order of human society. •“By the clock ‘tis day, and yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp. Is’t night’s predominance, or day’s shame, that darkness does the face of earth entomb when living light should kiss it?” –Act II, Scene 4

Attempts to control the future by overturning the natural order of society are futile. •“Duncan is in his grave; after life’s fitful fever he sleeps well. Treason has done his worst: nor steel nor poison, malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, can touch him further.” –Act III, Scene2

nusratfarah's profile pic

nusratfarah | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

When a human becomes blind out of greed, he surpasses all the limits to reach his goal. Ambition has no bound, so, he himself does not know where he has to stop. The fastest in the race of ambition is the most vulnerable to downfall. Macbeth is a great example of this theme.

In Macbeth, Shakespeare profoundly uses motif of blood and sleep to show that uncontrolled ambition removes harmony and peace from nature - external nature and human nature. Macbeth states in 3.4 that he is so much entangled into the world of crimes that it is not possible to come back now: I am in blood/ Stepped so far... Returning were as tedious as go o'er. He finds a bloody illusory dagger in front of him which symbolizes his guilty, troubled mental state. Lady Macbeth, too, becomes such a maniac who feels as if she had blood in her hands, and tries to clean, though it couldn't be removed away: Here is the smell of blood still - all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the little hands (5.1). This also occurs because of her psychological stress which is an outcome of guilt. By murdering the God-like Duncan, Macbeth kills sleep. This sleep is the external and internal peace. Through the murder, peace is evaporated forever from Scotland, and from the minds of the Macbeths. His paradoxical speech on sleep is very significant in 2.2.

Regarding soliloquies, in 5.5, Macbeth's utterance: "Life's but a walking shadow" expresses a sort of hopelessness and disillusionment.

amyk003's profile pic

amyk003 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

When a human becomes blind out of greed, he surpasses all the limits to reach his goal. Ambition has no bound, so, he himself does not know where he has to stop. The fastest in the race of ambition is the most vulnerable to downfall. Macbeth is a great example of this theme.

In Macbeth, Shakespeare profoundly uses motif of blood and sleep to show that uncontrolled ambition removes harmony and peace from nature - external nature and human nature. Macbeth states in 3.4 that he is so much entangled into the world of crimes that it is not possible to come back now: I am in blood/ Stepped so far... Returning were as tedious as go o'er. He finds a bloody illusory dagger in front of him which symbolizes his guilty, troubled mental state. Lady Macbeth, too, becomes such a maniac who feels as if she had blood in her hands, and tries to clean, though it couldn't be removed away: Here is the smell of blood still - all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the little hands (5.1). This also occurs because of her psychological stress which is an outcome of guilt. By murdering the God-like Duncan, Macbeth kills sleep. This sleep is the external and internal peace. Through the murder, peace is evaporated forever from Scotland, and from the minds of the Macbeths. His paradoxical speech on sleep is very significant in 2.2.

Regarding soliloquies, in 5.5, Macbeth's utterance: "Life's but a walking shadow" expresses a sort of hopelessness and disillusionment.

that was amazing :D

many thanks

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