Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is the moral of Macbeth and why did Shakespeare write the play?

The moral of Macbeth is that power corrupts. Shakespeare wrote Macbeth as a tribute to the new monarch of England, King James. Browse Macbeth quotes.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The moral of the story is that power corrupts, and we do have control over our own lives.  Macbeth decides that he does deserve to be king, because the witches put the idea in his head.  Yet the ambition was already there.

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Shakespeare wrote the play to entertain King James I of England and to appeal to his Scottish roots...he is supposedly related to Banquo, one of the few honorable and admirable characters in the play.

One of the morals of the play is "beware of being overly ambitious."  It can get you into huge trouble.  While ambition is not a terrible trait, going overboard (ie. murder) to get what you want is not suggested.

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Keri Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Two big questions! But no simple answers, I'm afraid.

As you can see above, it's possible to read Macbeth simply as a study of ambition and decide that its moral is "don't be ambitious" or "don't act on your ambition". But Shakespeare carefully makes things more difficult: by implying that the supernatural forces might be controlling Macbeth's actions, and that he...

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jann1212 | Student

The moral of Macbeth is that an individual's ability to make choices, is where real power lies. And though the story of Macbeth is fraught with violence, the core lesson is ultimately a hopeful one. Shakespeare teaches us that something even stronger than power, is our ability to choose. The power to choose "good" is just as much in our hands as the power to choose "evil." This idea is most elegantly symbolized in the famous "Is the dagger which I see before me" speech in which Macbeth tosses and turns between whether to kill Duncan, or not to kill Duncan. Unfortunately, his choice for the latter is what will set in motion the string of events that ultimately lead to his demise.

natalie-1996 | Student

Macbeth at the time was written in reference to James l, however, the moral of the play can also be subjected to ambition in respect to the tradegic hero-Macbeth. There can be many perspectives:

"do not let your ambition control your fate"

"what goes around comes around"

"too much ambition and thirst for power will lead to your ultimate destruction"

 

saroora | Student

Shakespeare wrote the play as a tribute to King James I..